Vice Chairs of the Democratic National Committee Denounce Debate Schedule – Call for More

Debategate-e1440958105906Two vice chairs of the Democratic National Committee are publicly calling on the party to increase the number of presidential debates, adding high-profile voices to efforts to change a process some have criticized as being too restrictive and too favorable to Hillary Rodham Clinton. The subject has created a whirlwind of negativity around the already troubled Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who some accuse of favoring her old boss Clinton by restricting the amount of debates.

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Looks like there might finally be some movement on the #Debategate front though, as two Vice Chairs of the D.N.C. made this statement on Facebook:

Why DNC Vice-Chairs Tulsi Gabbard and R.T. Rybak believe we should have more debates:

We believe that the DNC’s decision to limit Presidential candidates to six debates, with a threat of exclusion for any candidate who participates in any non-DNC sanctioned debate, is a mistake. It limits the ability of the American people to benefit from a strong, transparent, vigorous debate between our Presidential candidates, as they make the important decision of who will be our Democratic Presidential nominee.

As vice chairs of the Democratic National Committee, we are calling for several more debates than the six currently scheduled, and withdrawing the proposed sanctions against candidates who choose to participate in non-DNC sanctioned debates. We also encourage the DNC to consider additional ways to jointly showcase our candidates across the country.

We are the party that represents democratic principles, openness and transparency, and ensuring that all people, regardless of who they are or where they are from, have a level playing field and equal opportunity.

By limiting Democratic debates to just six, more people will feel excluded from our political process, rather than included. As Democrats, we believe the more people are engaged in the process and the exchange of ideas, the better off we are as a nation.

– Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard & R.T. Rybak

O’Malley Senior Strategist Bill Hyers released the following statement on Gabbard and Rybak’s  statement denouncing the DNC debate schedule:

“DNC Vice Chairs Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Mayor R.T. Rybak voiced what Governor O’Malley has said all along: the DNC’s limited debate schedule is bad for our Party and bad for our democracy.

“We are in full agreement with the Vice Chairs that the DNC should immediately drop its unprecedented exclusivity requirement and schedule more debates in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. At the very least, Democrats in these states should have at least one additional opportunity to hear from their Presidential candidates in each of their states before they make up their minds.”

While Sanders has been a little less vocal than O’Malley in his criticism of the schedule, supporters of Sanders, have mobilized thousands of grassroots supporters to lobby the DNC for more debates. Even calling for Wasserman Shultz to step down.

Clinton herself  is now suggesting that she would be open to having more debates if that’s what the party committee decides to do. Earlier she and her camp had indicated that they were just fine with only six debates. Back in 2008 Obama and his camp played a bigger role in the debate schedule than Clinton claims to be playing this election.

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G.A. Dunlap

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