Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley repeated his criticism of the Democratic National Committee for its slate of only six primary debates Monday, saying the decision was "outrageous" and "undemocratic."
O’Malley took a shot at Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who is expected to benefit from an uncompetitive primary.
"People want to debate, Andrea. They don't want a coronation," O’Malley told MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell.
"I think that it's outrageous actually that the DNC would try to make this process decidedly undemocratic by telling Iowa and New Hampshire that they can only have one debate before they make a decision," O’Malley said. "This election is too important to cut off debate."
O’Malley has struggled to gain support in a primary field dominated by Clinton and, to a lesser extent, socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.).
The DNC announced last week it would hold only six debates, compared to the Republicans’ 12 debates. The decision was criticized by O’Malley as an attempt to seal the nomination with little debate, even as the frontrunner’s poll numbers shrink.
Full transcript below:
ANDREA MITCHELL: What is your message to the party? Why only six debates?
MARTIN O'MALLEY: Well, my message to the party is this: We're making a big mistake as Democrats if we try to limit debate and have an undemocratic process,. There were 24 million people who tuned in to the Republican debate, and there were very few ideas that would serve our nation going forward that were offered in that debate. It was like the greatest hits of the 80's and 90's. What our party has to offer are the actual ideas that will move our country forward, that will get wages to go up again instead of down, that will move us to a 100% clean energy future and create five million jobs along the way. Shame on us as a party if the DNC tries to limit debate and prevents us from being able to put forward a better path for our people that will make the economy work for all of us again. So I believe we need more debates, not fewer debates, and I think it is outrageous, actually, that the DNC would try to make this process decidedly undemocratic by telling Iowa and New Hampshire that they can only have one debate before they make a decision. This election is too important to cut off debate. People want a debate, Andrea, they don't want a coronation.