NEW YORK DEMOCRATIC DEBATE UP IN THE AIR …
Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton is refusing to debate independent socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in New York unless he changes his “tone.”
And yes, this is how you distinguish a native New Yorker from an adopted one.
“I would hope very much that as we go into New York State, Secretary Clinton’s home state, that we will have a debate – New York City, upstate, whatever – on the important issue facing New York and in fact the country,” Sanders told NBC’s Chuck Todd this week.
The Brooklyn native is hoping to build on the momentum he picked up earlier this month with a trio of primary wins (in Alaska, Hawaii and Washington State).
Clinton? She seems to be trying to run out the clock …
“This is a man who said he’d never run a negative ad ever. He’s now running them. They’re planning to run more,” a Clinton strategist told CNN. “Let’s see the tone of the campaign he wants to run before we get to any other questions.”
“Senator Sanders doesn’t get to decide when we debate, particularly when he’s running a very negative campaign against us,” Clinton’s strategist continued. “Let’s see if he goes back to the kind of tone he said he was going to set early on. If he does that, then we’ll talk about debates.”
Clinton and Sanders are set to square off on April 19 in New York – Clinton’s adopted home state. Polls show Clinton with a big lead among Empire State Democrats, although the national race has tightened of late.
Sanders currently trails his rival by more than 700 delegates – 1,712 to 1,004 – although most of this lead is due to Clinton’s huge advantage among so-called “super-delegates,” or delegates whose loyalties are not bound by the results of party primary elections or caucuses. Among “pledged” delegates (i.e. delegates assigned on the basis of people’s votes) the Democratic race is much closer – with Clinton’s lead shrinking to 1,243 to 975.
Nationally, Sanders is closing in on Clinton. A new NBC News/ SurveyMonkey weekly tracking poll shows a six-point race – with Clinton leading Sanders by a 49-43 percentage point margin. A week ago, Clinton enjoyed a 12-point lead (53-41 percent) over Sanders.