Joe Biden says he doesn't want to debate Bernie Sanders again because of coronavirus: 'We should get on with this'

insider@insider.com (John Haltiwanger)
Former Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, greet one another before they participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at CNN Studios in Washington, Sunday, March 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Associated Press

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden doesn't want to debate Sen. Bernie Sanders again. 
  • Biden on Wednesday said he's focusing on dealing with the crisis surrounding coronavirus pandemic right now and that there have been enough debates.
  • "I think we should get on with this," Biden told reporters. 
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Former Vice President Joe Biden, the frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic nomination, on Wednesday, March 25, said he does not want to debate Sen. Bernie Sanders again this election cycle. 

Biden said he wants to focus his energy on the coronavirus pandemic and the escalating public health and economic crises surrounding it. 

"My focus is just dealing with this crisis right now. I haven't thought about any more debates. I think we've had enough debates. I think we should get on with this," Biden told reporters. 

There have been 11 Democratic presidential debates for the 2020 nomination thus far, and the most recent took place on March 15.

 

The Sanders campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider. 

The Vermont senator's campaign on Tuesday has said that he plans to participate in a debate in April if one is held.

After dominating recent voting contests, Biden has a sizable lead of Sanders in delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination: 1,168 to 884.

He's within striking distance of the magic number necessary to clinch the nomination outright: 1,191. 

 

The former vice president had lackluster performances in many of the 2020 Democratic presidential debates. 

In a recent debate with Sanders, however, which occurred amid the pandemic and therefore without a live audience, Biden showed improvement.

As of Wednesday, Biden had a 98% chance of winning the Democratic nomination, according to FiveThirtyEight's projections, while Sanders had less than a 1% chance. Though the 2020 Democratic race started off with a large, diverse crop of candidates, Biden and Sanders — both septuagenarians — are now the last men standing. 

When asked by a reporter on March 18 if he was considering suspending his campaign, Sanders issued a scathing response: "I'm dealing with a f---ing global crisis."

"Right now, I'm trying to do my best to make sure that we don't have an economic meltdown and that people don't die. Is that enough for you to keep me busy for today?" Sanders added.

Biden, who has faced some criticism for not taking a more public-facing approach to the coronavirus crisis early on, has been engaging in a media blitz in recent days to make up for his relative absence in the past few weeks. 

The 2020 race has taken a backseat as coronavirus places major restrictions on life in America — including the delaying of various primary elections — and dominates the nation's attention and airwaves. The latest Monmouth University poll shows a tight race between Biden and President Donald Trump, giving the former vice president a narrow three point lead over the commander-in-chief. 

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