Am I talking about 2008 or 2016?
Both, except there is a big difference. In 2016, the Republican nominee decided to help the Democratic runner-up by debating him before the final primaries. This could raise both their profiles and hobble the eventual Democratic nominee.
From Legal Insurrection:
Bernie Sanders agreed to debate his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, in a Fox News-hosted debate. Not surprisingly, Hillary declined.
But what about a Sanders/Trump debate?
On Jimmy Kimmel Live Wednesday night, Trump said he was open to the idea of debating Sanders, provided a network paid them for their time and those remunerations went to charity.
“If I debated him [Sanders] we would have such high ratings and I think we should take that money and give it to some worthy charity,” said Trump.
Sanders’s camp seized on the remarks and is trying to pressure the businessman to follow through.
“The senator wants to do it,” Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs told The Hill. “We’ll see if Trump meant what he said.”
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
A Trump official earlier Thursday characterized the mogul’s remarks as “tongue-in-cheek.”
Still, the official said Trump’s team is considering the possibility after the remarks have received so much media attention.
Trump adviser Sarah Huckabee Sanders told MSNBC on Thursday that Trump is “happy” to debate Sanders “at any point.”The debate story wins another news cycle for The Donald while rattling Hillary's increasingly shaky cage.
But this raises the question, why didn't John McCain offer to debate Hillary and raise the profile of both? Oh wait, no consultant was bright enough to figure that out.