Hillary Clinton agreed in principle to debate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) before the April 19 primary, but their campaigns traded barbs Saturday over the details.
For one, the Sanders camp charged that Clinton’s camp proposed dates when fewer people would be watching.
In mid-March, Clinton led Sanders by 48 points in New York in an Emerson poll. In a Quinnipiac survey released Thursday, Clinton had a 12-point lead — the same day Sanders drew 18,500 people to a rally in the Bronx.
“The Sanders campaign needs to stop with the games,” Hillary’s spokesman, Brian Fallon, said in a statement Saturday. “Over the course of the last week, we have offered three specific dates for a debate in New York, all of which the Sanders campaign rejected.”
“We offered Monday, April 4 at 7:30 pm. We were told that the Sanders campaign rejected this date because they wanted the debate to be held after the Wisconsin primary and would make themselves available on any date between Wisconsin and New York. We then offered the night of April 14th and that was rejected by Sanders. While we preferred to do an evening debate on the 14th, we then agreed to a debate on Good Morning America on April 15, understanding that the Sanders campaign had already agreed to this forum. That, too, was rejected,” Fallon said.
Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said Bernie’s camp was “very pleased that Secretary Clinton finally has accepted our request for a debate about the needs of New York and America.”
“Unfortunately, the dates and venues she has proposed don’t make a whole lot of sense,” Briggs added. “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.” Syracuse was eliminated Saturday after this statement was released to media.
“We have proposed other dates which they have rejected. We hope we can reach agreement in the near future. The people of New York and America deserve to see and hear a debate on the important issues facing the state and country.”
Clinton told NBC in an interview airing Sunday that she’s “confident” there will be a debate with Sanders “but I’m not the one negotiating it; that’s going on between our campaigns.”
Fallon said “both offers for the night of April 14 and the morning of April 15 still remain.”
“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,” the Clinton spokesman added. “Senator Sanders and his team should stop the delays and accept a debate on April 14 or the morning of April 15th.”
“… The Sanders campaign needs to stop using the New York primary as a playground for political games and negative attacks against Hillary Clinton.”
Hillary is campaigning in New York on Monday while sending Bill Clinton to Wisconsin, where Sanders leads by 5 points in a Fox Business poll conducted last week.
“If there is a large voter turnout we will win on Tuesday,” Sanders said. “Let us have the largest voter turnout in Wisconsin primary history.”