Debates, News

No Longer the Front-Runner Clinton Flip-Flops and Wants More Debates

By C-SPAN [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By C-SPAN [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Why aren’t there more debates? Why are we waiting so long? Many of us have been asking that question for several months.

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 open secret inside 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 led to the early departure of the other lesser known candidates su

But now that Hillary’s coronation is in jeopardy, she wants more debates, She maintained for months while she was ahead in the race that she was happy with the uber-light debate schedule.

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 said 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.

The DNC sanctioned six debates and has drawn a hard line against adding any more to the schedule. In fact they have threatened to disqualify any candidate from further sanctioned debates if they participate in unsanctioned debates.  Sounds like the Sanders campaign is just following the rules that Wasserman-Schultz set up.

“We have no plans to sanction any further debates before the upcoming First in the Nation caucuses and primary,” DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Tuesday night.

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 bit 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.

See #Debategate

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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8 Comments

  1. Bruce McIntyre

    Bernie has already said, that if the DNC sanctions the debate, he will show up, but if the DNC won’t (is too afraid of looking like in the bag for DNC) then he will abide by the agreement he signed and not appear. This is a scam so that HRC can look like she is doing the right thing, but if Bernie were to show up, Bernie would be sanctioned, but somehow HRC would not.

  2. Rober Haley

    I wouldn’t trust DEBBIE WASSERMAN SHULTZ as far as I can through her and I know Hillary is tottally untrustworthy worthy after stealing the China from the white house and order criminal acts she’s guilty off !

  3. Rick Payette

    This bothers me. These kind of political gamesmanship is exactly what we hate about the process. This will back fire on us. It is a stupid political calculation that threatens to pull our campaign into the muck we have so painfully avoided. To not participate in another debate prior to the NH vote, where Bernie holds such a strong lead smacks of hubris. I want the DNC’s hand forced as much as any, but this is an unintelligent way to do it. I have said for months that Bernie and O’Malley should participate in an in unsanctioned debate and dare the DNC to do anything. What could they do without displaying for all the world to see thrive bias? Are they going to have Hillary on a debate stage by herself? This is a clumsy move and it smells of politics. I do not like it. Participate and continue being straight forward and honest.

  4. Michael Hofmann

    If he “bends over backwards” to accommodate her then the moderators will softball her questions and ask him questions that can’t be summed up in a catchy sound bite. Not one so far has been unbiased. If he doesn’t then she claims that he’s not being fair. When it was in her favor she was very quiet. It’s a trap. DWS can’t open the gates all the way because it will get him out in front of a larger audience later. There is no reason for him to keep helping her when she has taken every opportunity to attack him.

  5. Mystic Michael

    Sounds to me like Jeff Weaver, Michael Briggs, Tad Devine and the rest of the Sanders campaign brain trust already gamed out this scenario weeks ago, if not months ago, so they would be ready once Bernie’s momentum compelled Hillary to scramble to try to catch up.

    It’s a thing of beauty, the way they are making maximum use of their new leverage to demonstrate once again that they will not be pushed around, putting Debbie Wasserman-Schultz on the defensive, dictating debate terms that are to their own satisfaction, while compelling Hillary to either accept those terms or do without – all while taking the ethical high road. As Bernie himself has stated so clearly: “People should not underestimate me.” I think Hillary and Debbie are beginning to grasp this fact.

    • Jon Barber

      “A thing of beauty” is exactly what it is. The Sanders team has run an outstanding campaign particularly when we consider the No Super-PAC, small donation aspect.

      Someday the pundits will finally admit that Sanders, Weaver, et. al. have been playing their cards in all the right moments. The “America” video, nearly perfect timing. Next up, Elizabeth Warren’s endorsement, you can just feel that one coming, but only when the team thinks it gets maximum impact.

      • Jan Bergeron

        The Bernie camp needs to add one more condition: that the three candidates must agree on the moderators – no more anti-Sanders, pro-Hillary people like Chris Matthews and Chris Cuomo! No more rigging the questions in Hill’s favor!

  6. Rose

    The ONLY reason Hillary Clinton wants a debate prior to New Hampshire is because she is losing in the polls by double digits (You know, the polls she claims she pays no attention to). Having another debate, gives Hillary a last push that she needs. It is the same thing with the Town Hall. That was only done for Hillary’s benefit. It was so obvious. I would of NEVER of agreed for Bernie to participate.