Navy Yard

Historic Brooklyn Navy Yard site chosen for Dems’ Brooklyn debate

Each Candidate Claims the Other 'Was Wary of Doing This Debate'

April 5, 2016 By Scott Enman Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, left, and, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., argue during the March 6 Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Michigan-Flint. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have agreed to meet for a Democratic presidential primary debate on CNN and NY1 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Thursday, April 14.  

With the Brooklyn campaign headquarters of each candidate just a mile or so apart, Clinton and Sanders will be fighting over national issues in a historic Brooklyn setting that brings to mind other great battles.

For example, the famous Civil War ship the Monitor visited the Brooklyn Navy Yard to be commissioned into the U.S. Navy in 1862 after being constructed at the Continental Iron Works in Greenpoint. In addition, numerous famed World War II vessels were launched and refitted in the same setting.

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The debate will take place five days before a critical primary election in New York state and is slated to occur inside the Duggal Greenhouse, which is a former subassembly shop, used for constructing multi-deck sections of steel ships.

Both CNN and NY1 will air the debate live from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. EST.

The Brooklyn brawl will be moderated by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, who has already led two Republican presidential primary debates this election season.

The announcement of the debate in New York City’s most populous borough comes after several days of sparring between the two campaigns regarding when and where the debate would take place.


The Sanders camp initially called for a Democratic debate in New York months ago, but choosing an exact date proved to be problematic for both sides.

Both presidential hopefuls have Brooklyn connections and will be looking to use those ties to gain support in the Empire State ahead of the primary on April 19.

Sanders is a Brooklyn native who grew up in Flatbush, attended Brooklyn College and opened a campaign office in Gowanus on March 26.

Clinton is a former New York senator and has her campaign headquarters in Brooklyn Heights at One Pierrepont Plaza, a mere eight-minute drive from the Duggal Greenhouse.

Clinton and Sanders last contested in a debate co-hosted by Univision and the Washington Post on March 9 at Miami Dade College in Miami.

The Democratic National Committee has authorized the Brooklyn Navy Yard debate.

Sanders’ spokesman Michael Briggs commented on the Brooklyn debate in a press release published on Sanders’ official presidential campaign website on Monday. 

“Sen. Sanders has accepted another invitation to debate Hillary Clinton in New York,” Briggs said in the press release. “We are glad that she finally has agreed. Sanders all along has pressed for a debate on television in prime time so the greatest number of New Yorkers and Americans may listen to the candidates and decide for themselves who has the best ideas about how to reform our rigged economy and the corrupt campaign finance system,” Briggs continued.  

“It’s great for the people of New York that there will be a debate in Brooklyn, something that the Clinton campaign has long opposed,” Briggs said.  

Clinton’s campaign spokesperson Harrell Kirstein told the Brooklyn Eagle that Clinton’s camp “had thought the Sanders campaign would have accepted our offer for a Brooklyn debate on April 14 in a New York minute, but it ended up taking a few extra days for them to agree.

“We are glad they did. We are grateful to have both NY1 and the Daily News sponsoring this debate, ensuring a New York focus to the discussion,” said Kirstein.


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