Why aren’t there more debates? Why are we waiting so long? Many of us have been asking that question for several months. Earlier this week, Hillary Clinton called on Bernie Sanders to join a proposed Democratic debate next week in New Hampshire, telling MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that she is “anxious” to make the debate happen.
“I’m ready for the debate, and I hope Sen. Sanders will change his mind and join us,” she said in the interview, which will air on “Hardball” Wednesday night. “I think the DNC and the campaigns should be able to work this out. I’ve been for, you know, for a long time, that I’d be happy to have more debates, and I hope we can get this done.”
Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver countered saying his candidate was not interested in an unsanctioned debate.
“The DNC has said it is not going to sanction any more debates until after February 9th. We look forward to working with the DNC and the other campaigns to schedule a series of debates to follow those currently scheduled. Our position will be that there should be at least three or four more,” Weaver said in a statement Tuesday night.
Apparently now the Hillary Clinton campaign has agreed to participate in four more debates, an aide said Saturday.
It’s unclear if the Democratic National Committee had signed off on any of the debates. A top adviser for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said the campaign was nearing an agreement on more debates.
“Details are still being worked out on when and where additional debates will occur,” said the adviser. “We hope to reach an agreement soon.”
Clinton, who most polls show is behind in Iowa ahead of Monday’s Iowa caucuses and also trails him in New Hampshire, initially urged the party to add a debate before the primary in New Hampshire.
She’s in a catch-22 situation though. She doesn’t do as well as Sanders in the debates but she also doesn’t do as well as him not being out in front of the cameras. It’s pretty clear to a vast majority of people that her campaign is floundering, while the Sanders campaign continues to make history. By agreeing to the debates, she is giving him what her campaign did not want to give him, more national network air time.
Still, it is an interesting turn of events when you consider how we got into the position of so few debates in the first place.
DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz gave the curious explanation that having the candidates out in front of millions of viewers on national TV would harm their campaigns by taking them off the campaign trail. Yeah she said that.
It’s pretty much an open secret inside and outside the Democratic establishment that DWS and the powers that be felt the best strategy was to bank on Clinton’s massive advantage in the name recognition category and keep the American people from learning about the other candidates. Matter of fact that likely led to the early departure of the other lesser known candidates such as Jim Webb, Lawrence Lessig, Lincoln Chaffee and undoubtedly has hurt Martin O’Malley.
But now that Hillary’s coronation is in jeopardy, she wants more debates, She maintained for months while she was ahead in the race and fewer people knew about Bernie, that she was happy with the uber-light debate schedule. She always deferred to the DNC when speaking about the debates, saying she was just doing what they wanted.
The DNC sanctioned six debates and drew a hard line against adding any more to the schedule. In fact they threatened to disqualify any candidate from further sanctioned debates if they participate in unsanctioned debates. But Clinton has flip-flopped on nearly everything else in this election so, hell with it. Why not this too? But let’s go back a few years and take a look at how she views debates and how the DNC has handled them in the past.
In a 2008 letter to Obama’s campaign manager David Plouffe, the Clinton campaign stresses in explicit terms how important additional debating is, implying that less debating may even be un-American. Debating is “the American way”
Back in 2008 much was being said about the presidential debates and even though there were more than four times as many in that cycle as there are now, the Clinton camp was adamant about scheduling even more. They recognized the benefit of being in front of the camera. I think we can quickly dismiss any talk that Clinton is not part of the decision making process about the debate schedule for 2016. Back in 2008 when her camp was accusing Obama of avoiding her, Obama was making it clear that he or his camp were involved in approving the debate schedule.
Remember this? Clinton to Obama: Let’s debate like Lincoln
In a 2008 CNN article Clinton called for more debates – “I’m offering Sen. Obama a chance to debate me one-on-one, no moderators. … Just the two of us going for 90 minutes, asking and answering questions; we’ll set whatever rules seem fair,” she said.
“I think that it would give the people of Indiana and I assume a few Americans might tune in because nearly 11 million watched the Philadelphia debate. And I think they would love seeing that kind of debate and discussion. Remember, that’s what happened during the Lincoln-Douglas debates,” she added.
See how much she wanted more debates back then?
Also from 2008: Clinton campaign manager Maggie Williams sent a letter to Obama campaign manager David Plouffe on Saturday asking for another debate. “I have no doubt that Sen. Obama, who hails from that great state, understands how valuable and vital these national conversations were to the heart of America. … If we debate, Americans will come,” Williams wrote.
Also see this article by us, The Bern Report Clinton’s debate flip-flop from ’08 to ’16 reveals that she and Schultz are well aware of the risks and benefits of publicized debates. Are they complicit in trying to rig the DNC rules and policies to favor the frontrunner? It sounds like a new scandal may be brewing…let’s call it “Debategate.” And now we have #Debategate2
Almost everyone wanted more debates and to not give them more debates in not Democratic, in fact it’s just the opposite. The DNC has even went so far as to un-invite one of the Vice-Chairs from the debate because she bravely called for more debates on national TV. Read about that HERE But now that Clinton wants more debates and/or forums the red-carpet is being rolled out.
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