DNC Chair Shuts Down Calls for More Presidential Debates

Debbie Wasserman Schultz also reaffirmed plan to penalize candidates who participate in debates that are not “sanctioned”

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the DNC will not add any more presidential debates, while warning that a controversial clause penalizing candidates for participating in unsanctioned debates will be upheld.

During a speech at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast on Thursday, Wasserman Schultz insisted the debate schedule was final.

“We’re not changing the process. We’re having six debates,” Wasserman Schultz said. “The candidates will be uninvited from subsequent debates if they accept an invitation to anything outside of the six sanctioned debates.”

Pressure to add more debates has been mounting in recent weeks, particularly from lower-tier candidates who feel the current six-debate schedule benefits those leading in the polls.

Last month, Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley lambasted the DNC, calling the debate schedule “rigged” and claiming that the party was “facilitating a coronation” for rival Hillary Clinton.

“I’ll make decisions that will make some people happy and some people unhappy. I can’t worry about that,” Wasserman Schultz said.

O’Malley’s lawyer has challenged the legality of the DNC’s “exclusivity clause,” which prohibits party candidates from participating in unsanctioned debates.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has also argued for more debates.

The first Democratic debate will air on October 13 on CNN.