The Great Debate Spin

By | 3/29/2016 Leave a Comment
New York democratic debate

On Monday, after a weekend of stunningly lopsided losses to Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton's top strategist Joel Benenson said in an interview on CNN in response to Sanders request for a debate in New York prior to its April 19th primary, “Senator Sanders doesn't get to decide when we debate, particularly when he's running a negative campaign against us. 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.”

Which, when reduced to its essence, is saying, “Be nicer to Hillary, pose less of a threat to her nomination, and then we might deign to partake in a debate.” Or, if you prefer, “Back off, we’re getting nervous.”

Then on Tuesday, Hillary for America spokeswoman Karen Finney told CNN's Alisyn Camerota, “Hold on here, you [the Sanders Campaign] don't get to set the terms and the conditions around when or where we debate. We've had a process. Let's stick to that process rather than public stunts.”

Which roughly translates to, “We don’t want to debate, we were happy blowing off private requests for a debate, but now they’ve gone public in asking for one and it’s put us on the spot we’re now very unhappy.”

She went on to add, “I think the point is less about, do we agree or disagree about should we debate in New York, and more about, let's talk about the tone of this campaign.”

Which boils down to, “Be nicer to Hillary, pose less of a threat to her nomination, and…” Well, you know the rest.

Trying to avoid having a debate in New York because you know a lot more people there will be paying attention to what Senator Sanders has to say is one thing; but clumsily attempting to spin that avoidance into a “Sanders is running a nasty campaign” narrative is both artless and disingenuous.

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