Concerns over Biden's mental health are back in the news following a noticeable uptick in gaffes and puzzling statements made by the candidate in recent weeks. Amid these concerns, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has changed its formatting for the upcoming presidential debate to allow the candidates to remain seated. The move is being criticized by the Sanders campaign for giving Joe Biden too much of a break.
After a private call Friday with CNN, which is moderating the March 15 debate with the Democratic National Committee, Sanders' team balked at a new proposed format for debate, saying it gives his opponent Biden too much of a break in their first one-on-one face-off. Biden’s camp denied that it was pressing for a sit-down debate.
The format for the next debate in Arizona — their first since Biden’s blowout Super Tuesday victories — would have the candidates seated for the first time this election cycle and take multiple questions from the audience. In the prior 10 debates, the candidates stood at lecterns and nearly all questions were asked by the professional moderators.
"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, Sanders’ senior adviser.
Biden’s campaign and the DNC said the format for the debate was decided by the party and CNN. The news network declined to comment and referred questions to the DNC.
Though seated debates are not unheard of in presidential primaries, the DNC's move comes amid renewed concerns over the state of Biden's mental health and accusations that the DNC is favoring the former vice president in the nomination process.
Probably the most important thing voters will learn in the next debate is whether or not Joe Biden has the mental wherewithal to engage in a one-on-one debate for two hours, not to mention serve as president the next four years.
The 11th Democratic debate takes place in Pheonix, Arizona, on Sunday, Mar. 15th.