SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is not budging on her decision to cap the number of Democratic presidential primary debates, despite protesters who stood outside the DNC Thursday and demanded she change her mind.
A flyer advertising the protest was passed around at a Bernie Sanders campaign rally and claims the Democrats debated each other 26 times in the primary. The flyer’s website allowdebate.com is the main hub for those interested in the cause.
Wasserman Schultz, however, told The Daily Caller Thursday night that the party is standing firm.
“We have six debates, which are about the same number we had in ’04 and in ’08, when we had an open primary. We believe strongly that six debates coupled with other opportunities that candidates will have to engage in forums and town hall meetings — that it is important to have our candidates in a variety of settings and not take them off the campaign trail,” she said.
Protesters, mainly supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley, stood outside of the DNC yelling chants like, “Hey, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, we’re gonna call a protest to get results!” or “No more GOP hate, we want more debate!”
“Every time you have a debate there’s about 3, 4, 5 days where the entire operation has to come off the trail, get ready — responsible campaigns anyway.”Wasserman Schultz explained. “The early primary states are really important and you want to make sure that those voters have a chance to kick the tires and really get the up close detailed look that they pride themselves on.”
She added, “So we believe that six debates are enough. In the other election cycles the debate schedule got out of control and so we wanted to get a little bit more control over it.”
One day after the protest, Democratic presidential primary front-runner Hillary Clinton said she is open to more debates. Clinton told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer she would show up to any DNC sanctioned debate that is scheduled, but stopped short of calling for more debates.
“They’ve made their decision,” she said of the DNC, “but I’ve made it clear that if they want to do more, I’m happy to do them.”