Democratic candidates for the White House, Martin O’Malley and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders have independently accused the Democratic National Committee (DNC) of having bias for Hillary Clinton by manipulating televised debate time schedules to create a safe haven for the Democratic frontrunner.
During an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, Jake Tapper asked former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley “whether the party committee is trying deliberately to shield Clinton from her opponents’ challenges.” O’Malley immediately answered: “Yes.”
“In fact, that’s also why, for the first time ever, they have limited the number of debates to just four. I think, at this same time eight years ago…we had had 16 debates,” O’Malley continued.
Similarly, when Senator Sanders was asked by ABC affiliate, WMUR, if the debate’s “Saturday timing was intended to hold down viewership,” Sanders responded: “Yes, I do.”
“I think it was a good debate, but I think there is a desire on the part of the DNC to protect Secretary Clinton. In Iowa, do you know when the debate was held? It was the night of the big football game in Iowa (Iowa vs. Minnesota). Do you think that’s a coincidence,” Sanders added.
O’Malley and Sanders join former top Obama adviser David Axelrod and former candidate Jim Webb in their criticism of how the DNC has manipulated the debates. Both O’Malley and Sanders have lambasted the number of debates and demanded more.
The DNC abides by the debate schedule; however, the Clinton campaign announced it would welcome more and attributed debate times to ABC and CBS.
“ABC and CBS are the ones that decided to put the debates on a Saturday night. Obviously [Clinton] does really great on these debates. We think that the more people that can see that, the better,” said Clinton spokesperson, Jennifer Palmieri.
Roiled by DNC bias for Hillary, O’Malley and Sanders are launching the first salvo in what could be a nasty public battle.
While neither man mentioned the real culprit, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, calls for her dismissal for her obvious favoritism toward Clinton are growing louder. The New York Observer, known for its left tilt, has called for Wasserman to be dismissed as DNC chair.
It is no secret Wasserman Schultz views Hillary Clinton as sui generis, an unprecedented figure unknown in history, and her willingness to husband the DNC’s resources to assist Clinton includes denying O’Malley and Sanders a time slot to express their views to a wider audience.
On the other hand, both men are getting buried by Clinton and little can help either man’s campaign.
Ill-will aside, the mere fact Mr. Axelrod weighed in is curious: No great affection exists between Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton; it is likely Axelrod was operating as a political hitman and suggesting the Democratic debates are rigged, assuming the role once reserved for Valerie Jarrett to prevent the Clintons from condemning the White House.
Both Sanders and O’Malley were accustomed to the Clinton Attack Machine training its sights on the GOP; they are now realizing the DNC is part of the Clinton Attack Machine.
[Washington Post] [The Hill] [Observer] [Washington Examiner] [Photo courtesy HuffPost]