- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Amid criticism over the timing and number of Democratic presidential debates, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Wednesday the party is sticking with the already-planned schedule of six sanctioned debates.

“Our candidates, with our debate schedule and our schedule of other candidate forums, have had a large variety of opportunities to be seen by voters,” Mrs. Wasserman Schultz said on CNN. “You can see, whether it’s Secretary Clinton or Senator Sanders, to some degree Martin O’Malley, their exposure through a variety of those opportunities has given them the ability to be successful and to attract attention and to build support.”

“That’s with the schedule that we’ve had,” she said, adding that viewership of the debates this cycle has eclipsed the viewership of nearly all of some 60 debates during 2008 and 2012.

“I’m very confident and satisfied with the amount of time our candidates have had on the debate stage, through candidate forums, and importantly, through being able to get up close and personal in those early-state primaries, which is really important,” she said.

“We have six debates, and we are proceeding with that schedule,” she said.

The activist group RootsAction recently launched a petition drive calling for Mrs. Wasserman Schultz to be removed from her position as head of the DNC, saying the party is tipping the scales in the 2016 Democratic primary contest in favor of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The two most recent Democratic debates have been held on Saturday nights. The last one was held the weekend before the Christmas holiday and the previous one, held in Des Moines in November, took place at the same time as a college football game in Iowa City between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

The fourth debate is scheduled for this Sunday in South Carolina.

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