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Martin O'Malley Declares That the Democratic Debate Schedule Is "Rigged"

By       Message John Nichols       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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Reprinted from The Nation

A Democratic contender objects that the deck is stacked to help Hillary Clinton.

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It is rare in politics for a candidate who is seeking a party's presidential nomination to tell the party leadership that it is wrong.

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And it is rarer still for a candidate to make his or her complaint when the media are present.

But former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley picked a public fight with the Democratic National Committee at its summer meeting. And he was right to do so.

Addressing the DNC session on Friday, O'Malley ripped party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the rest of the leadership team for limiting the number of debates among the five announced candidates for the nomination.

"We are the Democratic Party, not the Undemocratic Party," he declared. "If we are to debate debates, the topic should be how many, not how few."

Both O'Malley and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders have criticized DNC chair Schultz's announcement that the party would sanction just four debates before the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary begin the nominating process.

Under the DNC's current plan, the Democrats are scheduling far fewer debates than the Republicans. And the Democratic debates will start far later than the Republican debates.

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"I think that that is dead wrong and I have let the leadership of the Democrats know that," Sanders said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union. "I think this country benefits, all people benefit, democracy benefits when we have debates and I want to see more of them. I think that debates are a good thing."

Calls for more debates are common from candidates who are trying to catch up with a front-runner -- in this case former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. But O'Malley upped the volume at the DNC meeting when he made the demand for more debates central to his remarks -- and central to an argument that the Democratic Party will be harmed by constricting the discourse:

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