Debate commission: Democrats didn't rig debate schedule
WASHINGTON - The NFL and the Commission on Presidential Debates are rejecting Republican Donald Trump's claim that Democrats rigged the debate schedule so that two of the three debates would occur during football games.
In a statement released Sunday, the commission said it started working more than 18 months ago to identify all religious and federal holidays as well as baseball and football games and other major events. The commission said it was "impossible" to avoid all sporting events.
The nonpartisan, independent presidential debate commission said it never consulted with either political party in setting the dates, announced last September. The group serves as event sponsor and sets the participation criteria, dates, sites and formats.
On Sept. 26, the night of the first debate, ESPN will carry the Monday night game featuring the Falcons vs. the Saints. On Oct. 9, the second debate will air opposite the Sunday night game featuring the Giants vs. the Packers on NBC.
Vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine says he's "mystified" by what he calls Trump's "bizarre" allegations. Kaine asks, "Is Donald Trump complaining that the framers of the Constitution put the election in the NFL season?"
Clinton is promising to attend all the debates, which have been scheduled for September and October.
Clinton and Kaine are in the midst of a three-day bus tour through the battleground states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.