Monday, February 1, 2010
Viktor Yanukovych skipped the only scheduled debate with rival Yuliya Tymoshenko. His failure to show up gave Tymoshenko the opportunity to tear into him, and she did so with gusto. Tymoshenko called him a "banal coward" and suggested that there are two versions of Yanukovych: one is a PR product, and the other is hidden from view by his campaign team. While enduring such a tongue-lashing on national television is not generally in the best interests of a candidate less than one week before an election, Yanukovych may have been better served by avoiding the confrontation. He entered the second round in the strongest position, and given his relatively weak performance on the Shuster program prior to round 1, his more profitable approach is to stay on message and in venues that allow for purely scripted appearances.