Obama, Sanders set for White House meeting Wednesday
By Associated Press | January 26, 2016, 20:21 EST
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — President Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders are slated to have their first extended meeting since the Vermont senator’s presidential bid upended the Democratic race to replace Obama.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the two will meet Wednesday in the Oval Office. Earnest says the meeting will be informal, with no set agenda.
Sanders has met with Obama at the White House on several occasions over the years, but the men aren’t close. Sanders’ main rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has dropped by the White House for meetings with the president several times since leaving the administration.
Earnest says the men first discussed the meeting at a holiday reception at the White House in late December.
Sanders’ visit comes as Obama has opened up about his thoughts on the race.
In an interview with Politico.com published Monday, Obama showered praised on Clinton but was less effusive in discussing Sanders. He suggested the Vermonter was a one-issue candidate and dismissed any comparisons to his own campaign against Clinton eight years ago.
Separately, the head of the Democratic National Committee says the party has “no plans” to sanction additional debates before the Feb. 9 New Hampshire primary.
That’s despite an announcement from the state’s largest newspaper and MSNBC that they’ll team up to host a debate next week.
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued a statement Tuesday after the Union Leader newspaper and television network announced plans for a Feb. 4 debate in response to “overwhelming” calls from New Hampshire residents.
So far only candidate Martin O’Malley has committed to participating. Hillary Clinton’s campaign says she’d participate if the other candidates agree, which it said would allow the party to sanction the debate.
But Bernie Sanders’ campaign called for working with the party after the New Hampshire primary to schedule more debates.
The party has so far sanctioned six primary debates and previously threatened to punish any candidates for participating in non-sanctioned debates.