O'Malley: Sparse debate schedule 'undemocratic'
© Getty

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is keeping pressure on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to increase the number of Democratic presidential debates.

"We're making a big mistake, as Democrats, if we try to limit debate and have an undemocratic process," O'Malley said Monday on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports."

"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," he said.


O'Malley — who trails front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCommunion vote puts spotlight on Hispanic Catholics Trump's biggest political obstacle is Trump The Memo: Some Democrats worry rising crime will cost them MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden announces bipartisan infrastructure deal | DOJ backs Trump-era approval of Line 3 permit | Biden hits China on solar panels Biden says he won't sign bipartisan bill without reconciliation bill Business groups applaud bipartisan infrastructure deal MORE (I-Vt.) in recent polling — has sharply criticized the schedule of six Democratic primary debates this cycle.

During an interview with The Hill last week, O'Malley accused party insiders of attempting to steer the race in favor of Clinton. Sanders similarly said he was "disappointed" in the limited number of debates.

DNC spokeswoman Holly Shulman reiterated on Monday that the party sees its current schedule as more than sufficient.

“We are thrilled the candidates are so eager to participate in our debates. We believe that six debates will give plenty of opportunity for the candidates to be seen side-by-side. I’m sure there will be lots of other forums for the candidates to make their case to voters, and that they will make the most out of every opportunity,” Shulman says.

The debates start in October, with one each in the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Leading into the 2008 presidential election, there were more than 20 Democratic debates.

O'Malley noted Monday that an estimated 24 million people tuned into last week's first Republican presidential debate in prime time, and he said Democrats should seek a large audience to advance their own ideas.

"I believe we need more debates, not fewer debates. And I think that it is outrageous, actually, that the DNC would try to make this process undemocratic by telling Iowa and New Hampshire that they can only have one debate before they make a decision," O'Malley said.

"People want a debate," O'Malley added. "They don't want a coronation."