Sanders hoping for debate deal before NY vote

Posted at 1:05 PM, Apr 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-02 13:05:01-04

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on the 2016 presidential campaign, with the focus Saturday on Wisconsin, which holds its primaries Tuesday.

12:50 p.m.

The Democratic presidential campaigns are bickering over the date of a possible debate before the New York primary on April 19.

Bernie Sanders' team says it's happy that Hillary Clinton's camp has accepted his request for a debate "about the needs of New York and America."

But Sanders' spokesman Michael Briggs says the dates proposed by the Clinton campaign "don't make a whole lot of sense" -- including this coming Monday, the night of the men's college basketball tournament finals.

The Sanders campaign is still hoping for an agreement "in the near future."

12:30 p.m.

Bundled up in winter jackets and gloves, Bernie Sanders' supporters have waited for hours outside an arena on the University of Wisconsin's Eau Claire campus for a chance to see the presidential candidate.

There were some early morning flurries, but plows have cleared sidewalks hours before Sanders' scheduled appearance.

Sophomore Joseph Lehto (LAY-toh) -- who says he'll be voting for Sanders in Tuesday's Democratic primary -- says Wisconsin is a must-win state for Sanders.

In Lehto's words, Sanders is "done without Wisconsin." But Lehto believes Sanders has a good shot at winning.

Lehto says he'll likely vote independent instead of shifting his support to Hillary Clinton, if Sanders doesn't get the nomination.

12:15 p.m.

Hillary Clinton's campaign is accusing rival Bernie Sanders' team of playing "political games" with a potential Democratic presidential debate before the upcoming New York primary.

Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon says the Clinton campaign has offered three different dates to debate Sanders in New York. Sanders is pressing for a debate before the state's April 19 primary.

Clinton's team says the Sanders camp has rejected debate offers for April 4, April 14 and April 15.

Fallon says the Sanders campaign should stop using the New York primary as a "playground for political games and negative attacks."

The Democrats last debated in March and have been negotiating two more debates in April and May.
   AP-WF-04-02-16 1654GMT