Hillary Clinton’s chief strategist Joel Benenson was called out by CNN anchor Kate Bolduan for not answering questions Monday. (RELATED: Sanders Campaign Wonders If Hillary Is Ducking Debate In New York State)
In an interview on CNN’s “At This Hour With Berman and Bolduan,” Bolduan asked a question to Benenson: “Bernie Sanders wants a debate [in New York] before the April primary. Are you going to agree to it?”
“I think what was notable this weekend wasn’t so much that, but in my mind was The Washington Post story with his own campaign talking about how they’re poll testing more negative attacks on Hillary Clinton. They’re talking about running harsher negatives now, we saw them run negative ads,” Benenson said.
“Don’t distract. Don’t distract here, Joel. Why wouldn’t you debate?” Bolduan asked.
Instead of answering Bolduan’s question, Benenson complained about the campaign that Sanders is running ,arguing that “the real question is what kind of campaign is Senator Sanders going to run going forward. He pumped $4 million in the weekend before March 15th, and he lost all five states on March 15th. They spent about $4 million on negative ads.”
“That doesn’t have anything to do the debate though,” Bolduan interjected. “Why not debate?”
“This is a man who said he’d never run a negative ad ever, he’s now running them. They’re now planning to run more. Let’s see the tone of the campaign he wants to run before we get to other questions,” Benenson replied.
“You guys, back in January when there was a back and forth about debates, the Clinton campaign was open to more debates after the Flint debate was agreed to. Why not debate in New York,” Bolduan reiterated.
“Because we agreed to debates up to a certain point. We’re now out campaigning in the states,” Benenson said.
When asked what the “risk” of more debates was, Benenson claimed, “There’s no risk. She’s done well in the debates. The debates have been very good but Senator Sanders doesn’t get to decide when we debate, particularly when he’s running a very 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,” Benenson said. Adding “But we’re not going to talk about it–”
“So no chance of a New York debate?” Boulduan asked.
“I didn’t say that. I said we’re not going to talk about it. We’re going to see what kind of tone he sets. If his campaign wants to run the kind of negative campaign and run negative ads like they did in North Carolina and Illinois all over the country on March 15th, that’s going to be disappointing to a lot of Democrats who feel we have to start focusing on Republicans whether it’s Donald Trump or Ted Cruz and about our differences so we win in November. That’s what Democrats ought to be doing. That’s what she’s doing.”