Sanders won't debate Thursday unless Clinton agrees to future debates

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, NBC News, Debate
NBC News
 
 
"We are continuing to negotiate with them not just about the debate Thursday night, but about the other debates that we have said need to be agreed to in order to put the whole package of debates together," Tad Devine, a top Sanders campaign official, told The Hill.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
"They have not agreed to at least one aspect of it, which is we've asked for a debate in New York, and they do not want to have a debate in New York." 
 
Clinton is urging Sanders to debate her in New Hampshire this week, saying the campaign has met the conditions.
 
“I sure hope — we’re in Bernie Sanders’ backyard here in New Hampshire — I sure hope he intends to show up in his neighboring state,” Clinton told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday. “Let the people of New Hampshire see us both on the debate stage.”
 
Devine told The Hill that Clinton's comments are a mischaracterization of Sanders' position. 
 
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and MSNBC came to a tentative agreement for the debate to be held at 9 p.m. on Thursday. It would be moderated by Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow, Politico reported. 
 
But the DNC has not yet officially sanctioned the debate, saying negotiations will continue Tuesday.
 
The event would give Sanders and Clinton a chance to debate one-on-one, since Martin O'Malley dropped out of the race Monday night after a poor performance in the Iowa caucuses. Clinton beat Sanders by a razor-thin margin of 0.2 points in Iowa. 
 
The DNC has been criticized in the past for its limited debate schedule, with people claiming it gives Clinton an advantage. Sanders has long called for more debates.
 
"What I've said from day one along with Martin O'Malley is that I think we should have more debates," the Vermont senator said on MSNBC. "I like debates."
 
Once the wheels were in motion for the New Hampshire debate, Sanders' campaign said he would only participate under certain conditions.
 
“This is really hard to follow because when we said we would do the debate, they came back with conditions,” Clinton said of Sanders’ camp. “We met the conditions. Then they said they want different conditions, and we’ve tried to be very accommodating, but, you know, we have agreed to everything that they have asked us to do.
 
“We’ve accepted all of their conditions,” she continued. “We did that last week, and they keep trying to add new conditions, which, you know, raises questions about how ready or willing they are to debate here in New Hampshire.”
 
— Ben Kamisar contributed.

More in Presidential races

Trump decides he won't debate Bernie Sanders

Read more »