Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley says his party should hold more, not fewer debates for its 2016 candidates.
“I think we all gain from more debates,” O’Malley says. “I think we are all ill-served by having very few debates.”
The Democratic National Committee yesterday announced it has sanctioned six debates, including one in Iowa on November 14 and one in New Hampshire on December 19.
“The people of Iowa, the people of New Hampshire are accustomed to being able to evaluate each of the candidates in multiple debate formats,” O’Malley says. “And I think it’s wrong for the DNC to try to limit the people of Iowa or the people of New Hampshire to only having one debate before they have to make this big decision.”
There were four Democratic candidate debates in the state of Iowa before the 2008 Iowa Caucuses. So far this year, all five candidates competing for the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination appeared at one event in Iowa — the Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame Dinner in Cedar Rapids last month. Four candidates, including O’Malley, were given a chance to speak to the Iowa Federation of Labor’s convention yesterday.
“A forum is not the same as a debate, a debate where you actually have questions from the media, where there’s some exchange and rebuttals between candidates,” O’Malley says.
It’s hard to be “vague” when you’re on the debate stage, according to O’Malley.
“Look, in a competitive debate format each of the candidates presses the other candidates…in an adversarial sort of competition that is time-honored in our nation and I think it’s a very sad day indeed when the DNC tries to limit the number of debates,” O’Malley said. “I find it very undemocratic of the Democratic Party.”
O’Malley and the other Democratic candidates will meet for their first debate of the season on October 13, in Nevada, the state which hosts the country’s second round of Caucuses. The Republican National Committee sanctioned nine debates for the GOP presidential candidates. The first was held, in two parts, yesterday in Ohio. The next GOP debate will be next month, in California.