MSNBC: DNC Chair Wrong to Shield Hillary From More Debates

September 21, 2015

The panel of MSNBC's Morning Joe on Monday panned Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.) for protecting Hillary Clinton from more primary debates.

Former Democratic Rep. Harold Ford, Jr., a Clinton supporter, chided Schultz for dismissing the concerns of Democrats who want to see more debates.

"I think [Schultz] is wrong to stand in front of Democrats and lecture them about what they should be concerned about in the room," Ford said.

The DNC has sanctioned just six primary debates in the run-up to the 2016 election, while threatening to penalize candidates who appear at unsanctioned debates. This is the fewest number of debates held by the party when it was seeking a new presidential candidate in at least 35 years, according to Five Thirty-Eight.

The thin Democratic debate schedule has been criticized by some in the party as an effort to ensure Clinton's nomination, although Wasserman Schultz and the DNC deny this charge. At a Democratic Party event over the weekend, Schultz was heckled with chants of "we want debates" from a raucous crowd. Schultz and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley also shared a tense handshake after the latter's blistering speech to the DNC summer meeting last month about the same subject.

"Debbie Wasserman Schultz seems to be in her own glass box about this and it's one that wants to anoint one candidate and leave others out," MSNBC co-host Mika Brzezinski said. "It's fine, but she's absolutely wrong about this. Everyone's yelling at her."

Brzezinski said that the Democrats would hurt themselves by limiting debate in primaries, which help to vet candidates and expose their flaws before the general election.

"Look at, quite frankly, the work that the Democratic side needs. We need these conversations. We need to see them happening between Democratic candidates so they can challenge each other," Brzezinski said.