Clinton Camp Rejects Sanders' Debate 'Stunt'

Aides say he'll have to change his tone to get NY debate
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2016 2:36 AM CDT
Clinton Camp Rejects Sanders' Debate 'Stunt'
Hillary Clinton speaks at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis., on Monday.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Bernie Sanders' campaign is calling for a debate in New York ahead of the state's crucial April 19 primary—but Hillary Clinton's campaign isn't promising anything. In a CNN interview on Monday, Clinton strategist Joel Benenson slammed Sanders for running negative ads and said the senator "doesn't get to choose" when debates happen, the Hill reports. "Let's see the tone of the campaign he wants to run before we get to any other questions," Benenson said. He said April will make it clear that Clinton will be the Democratic nominee and scoffed at suggestions that Sanders could flip superdelegates, saying the rival campaign's efforts sounded like "Richard Nixon's secret peace plan."

In a later interview, Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon said there is still plenty of time to consider an April debate, but the request from the Sanders campaign seems like a "stunt," Politico reports. "I think that the Sanders campaign is struggling a bit for attention," he said. "Even in the aftermath of their three wins on Saturday, I think that their delegate math being what it is, people sort of realize that this is an uphill climb. And so I think this is an attempt by them to get back onto people's radar." The Sanders campaign, meanwhile, described Clinton as a "weakened front-runner" on Monday and pointed to polls showing that Sanders would do better than Clinton in a race against Donald Trump, USA Today reports. (More Election 2016 stories.)

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