Bernie Sanders publicly challenged Hillary Clinton to face off on a debate stage in New York before the state's primary on April 19. But Joel Benenson, Hillary Clinton's campaign's chief strategist, said on CNN that Sanders needs to watch his "tone" when asked about Sanders' request for a New York debate:
"The real question is, what kind of campaign is Senator Sanders going to run going forward? Let's see the tone. This is a man who said he'd never run a negative ad; he's now running them, they're planning to run more. Let's see the tone of the campaign he wants to run before we get to any other questions. 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."
Bernie Sanders's "tone"? This was one of the few times a CNN reporter actually called out a Clinton surrogate on their excrement of cattle.
And the most reasonable and most well-informed and objective people know that Clinton and her campaign does not want to debate Sanders simply because the people of New York will vote for him once they hear what they both have to say. If the Clinton campaign did not see Sanders as a threat, she would have already agreed to debate him.
Her campaign isn't fooling anyone. Bernie Sanders hasn't been running a negative campaign, unless telling the truth (making statements that are backed up by facts) is considered being "negative". Bernie isn't afraid to debate anyone, or to appear on Fox News. Somebody is also going to have to be capable of campaigning against and debating Donald Trump (or Ted Cruz) — and no one can be more negative or have more "tone" than someone like Donald Trump. It would be Trump, not Bernie Sanders, who would bring up Bill Clinton's DNA on Monica Lewinsky's blue stained dress.
The problem with Benenson's argument is that the 2016 Democratic primary has been one of the most remarkably friendly contests in recent memory. While Republican Party leaders mount a #NeverTrump campaign as the front-runner mocks the appearance of his opponent's spouse, the Democratic candidates have largely focused on minor policy differences, with Sanders waving away efforts to get him to attack Clinton for using a private email server. Sanders regularly says he'll back Clinton if she's the nominee and encourages his supporters to do the same. And Sanders has yet to call Clinton's success "the biggest fairy tale" or circulate old photos of Clinton to question her religious beliefs—actions the Clinton camp took during the far nastier 2008 Democratic race with Obama.
A couple of days later Rosario Dawson opened Bernie Sanders's rally in South Bronx. In the clip below are a few of her remarks, where she first mentions the Clinton lie about Bernie's stand on a woman's right to choose, and where she particularly references this "tone" of the Sanders campaign that Clinton's surrogates have been complaining about (It was very funny).
FYI: When Rosario Dawson mentioned "Obama", she is referring to an Obama look-a-like that was at the rally. (photo below)