- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley on Tuesday ripped the Democratic National Committee over its presidential debate schedule, saying Democrats aren’t going to stand for the “meddling” and “limiting of debate” the DNC is trying to pull.

“There are people throughout Iowa and New Hampshire who are outraged that the Democratic party is trying to act in such an un-Democratic way,” Mr. O’Malley said on MSNBC’s “The Rundown with José Díaz-Balart.” “So I think you will see more debates. I plan to go to as many debates as I possible can.”

Earlier this month, the DNC released a schedule of six presidential primary debates. The first, an Oct. 13 debate in Nevada, is followed by debates in the other early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

Mr. O’Malley’s camp had gone after the schedule soon after it was released and he continued the criticism Tuesday.

“We’ve now moved from 1 percent when I got in this race two months ago, and then we went to 3 percent [and] now we’re at 7 percent. I’m seeing a tremendous desire in our party and in our country for new leadership and an executive who has the ability to get things done,” he said.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has emerged as the Democratic front-runner in recent polls, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Vice President Joseph R. Biden. Mr. Biden has not yet announced his 2016 intentions.

“That’s what I have to offer,” Mr. O’Malley said. “I’m sure the other candidates have good ideas to offer. That’s why we need to have more debates rather than less. I mean, what have we come to as a party that we are so poor that we can’t afford to have more than one debate in Iowa and one debate in New Hampshire before the primary? It’s outrageous and people in our own party aren’t going to stand for this sort of meddling and limiting of debate that the DNC [is] trying to engage in.

“I should say, some in the DNC,” he added. “I think most DNC members also think this is a really, really bad idea.”

DNC spokeswoman Holly Shulman responded by saying they are “thrilled” the candidates are so eager to participate in their debates.

“We believe that six debates will give plenty of opportunity for the candidates to be seen side-by-side,” Ms. Shulman said in an email. “I’m sure there will be lots of other forums for the candidates to make their case to voters, and that they will make the most out of every opportunity.”

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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