Hillary Clinton indicated on Saturday that she would be open to participating in more debates with her primary challengers if the Democratic National Committee decides to schedule more contests.
“I am open to whatever the DNC decides to set up,” Clinton told reporters while campaigning in New Hampshire. “That’s their decision. I debated a lot in 2008, and I would certainly be there with lots of enthusiasm and energy if they decide to add more debates.”
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders have been vocal critics of the DNC’s decision to sanction just six debates, while the Republican candidates will be debating at least 12 times. O’Malley used his speech at the DNC’s summer meeting recently to blast the DNC for its “cynical move” in limiting debates — even endorsing the idea of Jon Stewart moderating a debate.
“While the Republicans put their backwards ideas forward before an audience of more than 20 million Americans, we put our forward-thinking ideas on the backburner, and try to hide them from the airwaves,” O’Malley said during his Aug. 28 speech in Minneapolis.
Some have likened the lack of debates to a “coronation” for Clinton, the presumptive nominee. Acknowledging O’Malley’s and Sanders’ objections to the current debate schedule, Clinton continued: “And I think that’s the message that a lot of people are sending their [the DNC’s] way.”
In a statement, O’Malley’s New Hampshire State Director John Bivona echoed the campaign’s previous calls for DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to add more debates.
“Now that both Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders have joined Governor O’Malley’s call for more debates, it is time for Chairwoman Wasserman-Schultz and the Democratic National Committee to take themselves out of this process and end the unprecedented exclusivity rule,” Bivona said.
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