Amid Pressure to Add Debates to Campaign Schedule, DNC Chair Refuses to Budge

Cortney O'Brien
|
Posted: Sep 10, 2015 2:46 PM
Amid Pressure to Add Debates to Campaign Schedule, DNC Chair Refuses to Budge

Conducting only a half dozen debates ahead of the 2016 presidential election is plenty, insists Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Although Democratic contenders not named Hillary Clinton argue that six debates is nowhere near enough time to make their cases to the American people, Schultz said the schedule is final and threatened to disinvite any candidates who dare seek additional airtime.

“We’re not changing the process. We’re having six debates,” said Wasserman Schultz, who has been under fire from several Democratic presidential candidates over the debates. “The candidates will be uninvited from subsequent debates if they accept an invitation to anything outside of the six sanctioned debates.”

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has been especially vocal in his criticism of the limited debate schedule.

"We need debate!" he told a roaring crowd in a jam-packed room, many of whom were wearing shirts supporting independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. "What are we afraid of?”

O’Malley is urging people to attend a rally outside of the DNC headquarters next in Washington, D.C., demanding more debates.

“A group called ‘Allow Debate’ has scheduled a protest outside the DNC headquarters, and we want to help them out,” O’Malley’s digital director, Madeleine Ellis, said in an e-mail to supporters Wednesday, in which she shares the DNC’s address and says “afterwards you can join us to watch the next Republican debate at a bar nearby.”

These are not fringe candidates requesting more camera time. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is now leading Hillary in Iowa, said the DNC was “dead wrong” in not allowing more debates.

“I think this country benefits, all people benefit, democracy benefits, when we have debates, and I want to see more of them,” he added. “I think that debates are a good thing."

The number of debates has been slashed from 25 in 2008 to a mere handful. No wonder Democratic candidates are crying foul.

One person not raising a peep is Hillary Clinton. Does Schultz’s stubbornness prove that the DNC wants to be a bulletproof shield for the presumed nominee?