Hillary Clinton’s tussle with Bernie Sanders over a New York debate has entered a new chapter. First, Sanders challenged the former Secretary of State to a debate in their mutual home state of New York, Clinton’s side replied by saying they wouldn’t debate unless the Vermont senator changed his “tone.” Now, her campaign is accusing the other side of “playing games” and arbitrarily rejecting debate dates.
According to NBC News, Hillary Clinton’s spokesman Brian Fallon wrote a statement about the current situation. He says they first wanted to schedule the debate on April 4th, but Bernie Sanders wanted to wait until after the Wisconsin primary on April 5th. They also suggested April 14th and 15th, but the Sanders camp hasn’t accepted those dates either. Fallon then accused the other side of playing games and running negative attacks.
“The Sanders campaign needs to stop with the games. The Sanders campaign needs to stop using the New York primary as a playground for political games and negative attacks against Hillary Clinton. The voters of New York deserve better.”
Bernie Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said the Clinton camp is proposing “ludicrous” dates, but hopes to reach an agreement soon.
“Unfortunately, the dates and venues [Clinton] has proposed don’t make a whole lot of sense. The idea that they want a debate in New York on a night of the NCAA finals — with Syracuse in the tournament, no less — is ludicrous. We have proposed other dates, which they have rejected. We hope we can reach agreement in the near future.”
Bernie Sanders supporters have long claimed the DNC has set past debate schedules so that they will not be watched (implying this favors Clinton). Salon Magazine claimed the DNC scheduled its paltry six debates (which has been increased by four according to the Washington Post) on weekends and one on the Saturday night before Christmas, while the RNC was enjoying massive ratings for their own events. (The Republicans have had 20 debates sanctioned by the party).
According to FiveThirtyEight, Barack Obama got to enjoy 25 party-sanctioned debates against Hillary Clinton. Even in 2004, there were 15 debates.
Now that Bernie Sanders has won several contests by huge margins in diverse states, the debate issue is front and center.
Sanders laid down a challenge for a New York debate last month on NBC’s Meet the Press.
“I would hope very much that as we go into New York state, Secretary Clinton’s home state, that we will have a debate — New York City or upstate, wherever — on the important issues facing New York and, in fact, the country.”
The response from the Clinton pollster Joel Benenson on CNN was fairly simple – change your tone and we’ll talk.
“Senator Sanders doesn’t get to decide when we debate, particularly when he’s running a negative campaign. Let’s see if he goes back to the kind of tone he said he was going to set early on. If he does that, then we’ll talk about debates.”
The Washington Post called the idea that Bernie Sanders was running a negative campaign “ridiculous.” The Post confirmed that the Sanders campaign had never even mentioned Hillary Clinton in an ad, and the closest they could find was an ad attacking campaign contributions from Wall Street, and therefore, by association, attacking the former Secretary of State.
Sanders also famously shut down a debate question about Clinton’s email scandal, saying no one wants to hear about “your damn emails.”
The Post goes on to say that in comparison to the Republican side, the Democrats seem even more friendly. Donald Trump, who continues to dominate the GOP race, has become famous for his attacks. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Ted Cruz was so outraged by apparent slights against his wife Heidi that he will no longer honor the GOP loyalty pledge if the nominee is Trump.
The debate fight between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders might be the most negative thing to develop on the Democratic side so far, and it still looks far from an agreement.
[Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]