Earlier this week, it was announced that MSNBC and the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper were attempting to schedule another Democratic debate which would fall outside the list officially sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee. Martin O’Malley was quick to say he’d join the debate, as was Hillary Clinton. At this point, Clinton is still trying to convince Bernie Sanders to sign on and push the DNC into allowing this unsanctioned New Hampshire debate to move forward.
Proposed Date: Thursday, February 4, 2016
Report from NBC News:
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.”
Asked if she wanted the Democratic National Committee to sanction the debate, Clinton replied, “I would like the chairman of the parties and the campaigns to agree we can debate in New Hampshire next week.”
NBC and the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper on Tuesday proposed sponsoring a debate Feb. 4, which would fall outside the original debate schedule sanctioned by the DNC.
Clinton and Martin O’Malley, the third candidate in the race, quickly said they would be open to joining, but 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 Sanders campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday on Clinton’s comments.
This is a stunning turn of events for the Clinton campaign which was perfectly fine with a limited debate schedule when questioned about it repeatedly last year. At this point, in New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders is the solid front runner and the need for more debates has suddenly become apparent for Mrs. Clinton if she is to avoid a complete blowout in the Granite State.
Furthermore, Sanders has joined O’Malley over recent months calling for more debates. The tables sure do turn with the polls when it comes to a candidate’s desire for more debate opportunities.
If this debate doesn’t happen, the next Democratic debate will fall after the February 9 New Hampshire primary.
It appears there has been movement on the debate question with both campaigns now agreeing to participate in a debate next week and possibly adding additional events. See this post for the latest details.