Clinton Accepts Fall Debate Schedule, Challenges Trump

PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton smiles at the crowd at the start of her remarks during a primary night rally at the Duggal Greenhouse in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, June 7, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.PlayDrew Angerer/Getty Images
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Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton said Monday night that she will attend all three general election presidential debates and challenged her Republican opponent, Donald Trump, to do the same.

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"Secretary Clinton looks forward to participating in all three presidential debates scheduled by the independent debate commission," John Podesta, Clinton's campaign chairman, said in a statement.

Trump tweeted last month that Clinton and the Democratic party were "rigging" the debates by holding them on the nights that coincide with two major NFL games.

In an interview on ABC's News's "This Week" that aired in July, Trump was asked whether he would accept the debate schedule.

"Well, I'll tell you what I don't like. It's against two NFL games," Trump told host George Stephanopoulos. "I got a letter from the NFL saying, 'This is ridiculous.' Why are the debates against -- because the NFL doesn't want to go against the debates. Because the debates are going to be pretty massive, from what I understand, OK?"

A spokesman for the NFL later denied sending any letter.

The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates is in charge of the schedule. The dates and locations for this year's debates were announced in September 2015.

The three debates are scheduled for September 26 at Hofstra University in New York, October 9 at Washington University in St. Louis and October 19 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Podesta took a swipe at Trump in the statement, accusing him of dodging the debates with Clinton.

"It is concerning that the Trump campaign is already engaged in shenanigans around these debates," he said. "It is not clear if he is trying to avoid debates, or merely toying with the press to create more drama. Either way, our campaign is not interested in playing along with a debate about debates or bargaining around them."

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