Bernie Sanders Campaign Only One That Refuses Unsanctioned Debate
NBC News and the New Hampshire Union Leader are teaming up to host a Democratic debate that the DNC refuses to sanction. Martin O'Malley immediately announced he would participate, Hillary Clinton went from stating she would like the DNC to sanction the debate, to stating she would like all the candidates to participate, to her campaign stating she will participate and asking Bernie Sanders to participate.
The Sanders campaign is refusing to participate unless the DNC sanctions the debate.
Clinton spokesperson Brian Fallon Wednesday morning on CNN characterized the Sanders campaign as "the one hold out. We think they should join us in saying they will be in New Hampshire next week," he added.
The campaign Tuesday said Clinton would "participate in a debate in New Hampshire if the other candidates agree, which would allow the DNC to sanction the debate."
Wednesday Clinton spoke with MSNBC's Chris Matthews by phone (video above) saying, "I would look forward to another debate."
"I would like the chairman of the party and the campaigns to agree that we can debate in New Hampshire next week," Clinton added. "That is what I'm hoping will happen."
"Let's try to make it happen."
Clinton did not say she would absolutely attend the debate if it is unsanctioned, nor if Sanders or O'Malley did not attend.
Talking Points Memo reports "Sanders' campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, said on Tuesday that the Vermont senator would not attend a debate not sanctioned by the DNC due to concern that his participation would keep him from attending future official debates."
The DNC issued a lengthy statement Tuesday adamantly refusing to sanction the New Hampshire debate, but said after the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries it would reconsider.
"We have no plans to sanction any further debates before the upcoming First in the Nation caucuses and primary, but will reconvene with our campaigns after those two contests to review our schedule."
The executive director of Georgetown University's Institute of Politics & Public Service, former communications director for the Democratic National Committee, Mo Elleithee, posted these tweets:
If Sanders wanted to do this debate, it would happen. O'Malley was a yes. Clinton statement gave the DNC a way to move forward with it.— Mo Elleithee (@MoElleithee) January 27, 2016
So, in effect, DNC statement actually ended up helping Sanders by blocking a debate he didn't want to happen. How's THAT for a twist?— Mo Elleithee (@MoElleithee) January 27, 2016
If Sanders said yes, DNC couldn't block it. But he's leading in NH polls. So why mess it up. DNC "we won't budge" statement gave him a pass.— Mo Elleithee (@MoElleithee) January 27, 2016