After hearing months worth of conspiratorial talk about Hillary Clinton, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and the DNC scheming to "shield" the frontrunner from debating...you just gotta laugh at this:
A spokesman for Hillary Clinton, Brian Fallon, on Wednesday criticized Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) as the only "holdout" who will not participate in an unsanctioned debate to be hosted by MSNBC and the New Hampshire Union-Leader in February.
"The Sanders campaign is the one hold out. We think they should join us in saying they will be in New Hampshire next week," Fallon said on CNN.
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.
Clinton's campaign said she would "participate in a debate in New Hampshire if the other candidates agree, which would allow the DNC to sanction the debate." And former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said he would attend the unsanctioned debate.Last night, Rachel Maddow played clips of recent interviews with Clinton and Sanders, and we can easily hear the enthusiasm in Hillary's voice about the idea of more debates. And why shouldn't she feel that way? This week's Iowa town hall is only the latest reminder that events like these are right in her wheelhouse.
As for Bernie, he also seemed fairly eager too, saying "Count me in...If Secretary Clinton and Governor O'Malley want to do it, I'm there. I love debates...".
So what's the holdup, Bernie? This is a golden opportunity to stick it to the DNC establishment and have another great debate at a critical time in a key state.
If I were to posit my own theory on the matter, I'd guess that Bernie knows that a win in Iowa is unlikely and Hillary will probably get a good boost in New Hampshire as a result. At that point, Bernie will be looking to hold onto his lead in that state, and another face-to-face showdown with Hillary - the best debater of 2016 - would not be helpful. And if he loses in his neighboring state where he's had the lead for a while now, it's truly over for him.
Or then again, perhaps the answer is much simpler than that. Maybe Bernie just doesn't feel like doing it. Remember what Martin O'Malley said about this a month ago?
Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley has tried to hold more debates, even without the party's blessing, he said Tuesday. He said he even asked fellow Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to debate him.
Sanders turned him down, O'Malley told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
"You think I haven't done that?" O'Malley said when former DNC Chairman Howard Dean asked him why he didn't challenge Sanders to a one-on-one debate.
"I've done that," he continued. "I asked Sen. Sanders. Sen. Sanders doesn't want to do more debates either. He kind of liked where it is."Well that's clarifying!
Stay tuned, as I'm guessing that Sanders will eventually relent pretty soon and the debate will go forward. Not doing so would be a huge misstep for him...if it isn't already.
Clinton to @hardball_chris: “I’m ready for the debate and I hope Senator Sanders will change his mind and join us." Tonight on @msnbc.— Kailani Koenig (@kailanikm) January 27, 2016