Bernie Sanders is itching to debate and not just with other Democrats running for the party’s presidential nomination. He says Democratic and Republican contenders should be debating each other during the primary season, too.
That shakeup is unlikely to happen: Each party is planning its own debates, as usual. But the network news shows Sunday morning were something of a debating society of their own as 10 declared and likely candidates from both parties appeared in a parade of political argument and sound bites, touching on ISIS, personal ambition, immigration, hair color and more. A sampling:
Bush on the big question
Is some extraterrestrial force keeping Jeb Bush from announcing a presidential candidacy?
Pressed on CBS’ Face the Nation, he spoke as if the decision is not his own.
“I hope I run,” he said. “I hope, I hope, I’m a candidate in the near future.”
What might possibly persuade him not to run? “Who knows?” Bush replied. “I’ve learned not to answer a lot of hypothetical questions.”
The former Florida governor said he’ll decide soon after his trip to Europe, which starts in a week.
Bush has been campaigning and fundraising for months and the political world would be shocked if he did not enter the Republican nomination race.
There are various reasons politicians dance around the question of whether they’re running. One big reason: Once they declare their candidacy, they can no longer work directly with super PACs that are raising money to help them.
Bush says he’s already checked with his wife and children they are “totally all in.”
That’s if he runs. As he hopes.
Hillary Rodham Clinton is in the most commanding position by far in the Democratic race. Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, stepped up in April to take her on and court the party’s left. So what does Martin O’Malley, who entered the contest Saturday, have to offer liberals that Sanders doesn’t?
Achievement, he told ABC’s “This Week.”
“I have a track record of actually getting things done, not just talking about things,” O’Malley said when asked to compare himself with Sanders, an independent in the Senate who aligns with Democrats. O’Malley served as Maryland governor and Baltimore mayor.
Presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul certainly raised hackles in his own party when he blamed the rise of the Islamic State group on Republican hawks, and perhaps none has taken more offense than Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Jindal was asked Sunday on ABC whether he would support Paul if the Kentucky senator became the Republican nominee. “I don’t think he will be our party’s nominee,” Jindal said. Jindal is expected to say in coming weeks whether he will join the nomination contest.
Paul said last week that Republican hawks supported the indiscriminate spread of arms in the region where ISIS operates and some of those weapons have fallen into the hands of extremists. That led Jindal to say Paul is unsuited to be president. The governor says ISIS exists purely because of radical Islam.
Bring on the debates
“We need a lot more debates in this campaign,” Sanders said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
The Vermont senator said the Democratic debates should begin as soon as July and, in a twist, some Republicans should be in the mix.
That’s not the plan. The Democratic Party says it will hold six presidential primary debates with its candidates, beginning in the fall. The first Republican debate will be in August, drawn from a much larger field of rivals.
Carly Fiorina says she colors her hair, like Clinton does.
Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO now running for the Republican nomination, told Fox News Sunday she’s just happy to have hair. She lost it for a while when she was battling breast cancer.
Clinton told an audience in South Carolina last week that while at age 67 she may not be the youngest candidate in the race, she did have one advantage: “I’ve been coloring my hair for years.” She said most presidents go snow white in office.
Republished with permission of The Associated Press.