The Democratic National Committee is changing the rules again for the next presidential debate… to make it less physically exhausting for 78-year-old Joe Biden.
The new rules will have both candidates—Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—sitting, rather than standing. The debate will also feature audience questions, rather than questions from professional moderators.
In the prior debates, the candidates stood at podiums. Biden’s performances in those debates have been widely panned, with ongoing chatter that he’s past his prime.
The Sanders campaign seems to realize that the DNC is rigging the primary once again to protect their opponent—and they’re coming out swinging.
“Why does Joe Biden not want to stand toe-to-toe with Sen. Sanders on the debate stage March 15 and have an opportunity to defend his record and articulate his vision for the future?” asked Jeff Weaver, senior adviser to Sen. Sanders.
“Joe Biden does not want to go head-to-head with Bernie Sanders, stand there for two hours, and go back and forth with Bernie Sanders,” Weaver added. “He wants it broken up with audience questions because he knows in that environment, he won’t fare very well.”
Sanders’ campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, also took to Twitter—mentioning that, while Biden spoke for only seven minutes at his most-recent rally in St. Louis, “Bernie has three public events just today in two different states, each speaking engagement extending for close to an hour.”
Team Biden has pushed back, claiming that the Sanders campaign was only looking to distract from the issues.
“We will participate in whatever debate CNN chooses to stage: standing, sitting, at podiums, or in a town hall,” said Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield. “The problem for the Sanders campaign is not the staging of the debate, but rather, the weakness of Sen. Sanders’ record and ideas.”