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Clinton aides say they approached Sanders with three date for debate
All were rejected, despite Bernie claiming Clinton was unwilling to face him
Sanders camp hit back, saying proposed dates and times ‘made no sense’
Debates between pair have been hot-button issue since Clinton refused to participate in any more unless Sanders ‘changed his tone’
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Frustrated Clinton campaign aides have told Sanders to ‘stop playing games’ over a proposed Democratic debate in New York ahead of the state’s primary in just over two weeks.
According to Clinton’s team Bernie staffers rejected three proposed dates for the event, despite earlier calling Hillary out for failing to commit.
Brian Fallon, Clinton’s national press secretary, told CBS: ‘The Sanders campaign needs to stop using the New York primary as a playground for political games and attacks against Hillary Clinton.
Campaign officials for Hillary Clinton (pictured yesterday in New Jersey) have told Sanders to ‘stop playing games’ after his camp rejected three dates for a debate ahead of the New York primary
‘The voters of New York deserve better. Senator Sanders and his team should stop the delays and accept a debate on April 14 or the morning of April 15th.’
According to Fallon, the Clinton campaign also proposed the night of April 4 as a possible date for the event, but this was also brushed aside.
Meanwhile Michael Briggs, a spokesman for the Sanders campaign, accused the Hillary camp of proposing dates and times that ‘don’t make much sense.’
Briggs pointed at the the final of NCAA’s March Madness tournament is due to be played on April 4, posing a huge scheduling conflict with any potential debate.
‘The idea that they want a debate in New York on a night of the NCAA finals — with Syracuse in the tournament no less — is ludicrous,’ he added.
Briggs said the Sanders campaign has also offered dates to Clinton which they had rejected.
Fallon denied that the April 4 debate would create a conflict with the basketball match, saying the Clinton campaign proposed a start time that would have ended the event well before tip-off.
Asked earlier if he was worried Clinton was no longer willing to debate him, Sanders said: ‘Yeah, I do have a little bit of concern about that. But I would like to see a debate in New York state.’
Debates between Clinton and Sanders have become a hot-button issue since the Clinton campaign said she would refuse to participate in any further debates unless Sanders ‘changed his tone’.
Sanders had previously called out Clinton for delaying setting dates for the proposed debate, accusing her of being unwilling to debate him
The remark was widely ridiculed online, with the witty hashtag ‘tonedownforwhat’ trending on Twitter.
Sanders supporters pointed out that, compared to the Republican race, Hillary has been given a relatively easy time by Bernie who has stuck to issues-based debates while brushing off questions about Clinton’s emails and avoided personal attacks.
Clinton has become increasingly frustrated with Sanders’ accusations over her campaign financing, particularly her links to large Wall Street firms and oil companies.
On Friday Clinton was filmed telling a Greenpeace protester who challenged her over the links: ‘I’m so sick! I’m so sick of the Sanders’ campaign lying about this, I’m sick of it.’
During a stump speech later in Wisconsin, Sanders ordered Hillary to apologize over the remark, saying his campaign are ‘telling the truth’.
New York goes to the polls on April 19 in a hotly-anticipated contest between a native Brooklynite and the state’s former senator.
While Clinton has earned the support of mayor Bill de Blasio, governor Andrew Cuomo and senators Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand, Sanders has managed to cut her lead from 48 points to just 12 and remains bullish about his chances.