Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was unable to say Monday whether or not her campaign has pushed the Democratic National Committee for a limited debate schedule.
The sparse number of debates has been a sore spot for the party. Clinton’s fellow candidates, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, have accused DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of purposely limiting exposure to the candidates — a move which would favor Clinton, the campaign front-runner — by both limiting the number of debates and by airing them on weekends. The three candidates met for the fourth time on Sunday, the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“Is it true that your campaign advocated for a light schedule?” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow asked Clinton during an interview on Monday.
Clinton neither confirmed nor denied the question.
“I really don’t have any knowledge of that,” Clinton said. “I’m not saying that nobody representing me or the other campaigns didn’t express any opinion.”
Clinton said it was her understanding that the party made a decision to have a monthly debate “once people were beginning to pay more attention.” The first Democratic debate was held in October in Las Vegas.
Though the former secretary of state denied having knowledge of her campaign’s operations, The New York Times reported over the weekend that some of her aides are now regretting that the campaign did not push for more debates.“I’m not going to substitute my judgement for whatever the thought process was,” Clinton told Maddow on Monday, adding that she was told that the DNC partnered with networks that preferred to air the debates on weekends rather than on weekdays for ratings reasons.
Wasserman Schultz has been confronted repeatedly over the debate logistics. Top party officials, such as Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, have accused the Florida Congresswoman of acting in an authoritarian manner by shutting down dissenters who want more debates.
Wasserman Schultz has denied the accusations, however.
“I did my best to make sure, along with my staff and along with our debate partners, to come up with a schedule that we felt was going…to maximize the opportunity for voters to see our candidates,” she said over the weekend.