Gabbard: 'Debate or no debate we are driving forward'

Democratic Presidential hopeful Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardClinton trolls Trump with mock letter from JFK to Khrushchev Sunday shows — Mulvaney seeks to tamp down firestorm over quid pro quo comments, Doral decision Buttigieg says he wasn't comfortable with Clinton attack on Gabbard MORE (Hawaii) says she will continue her White House campaign regardless of whether she qualifies for upcoming primary debates.

“Debate or no debate we are driving forward,” Gabbard told Hill.TV during an interview that aired on Wednesday.

“We’re really appreciating this opportunity to be able to meet voters in person and using every platform possible,” she added.

Gabbard’s comments come as she looks to raise her polling numbers to get on the stage at the next round of debates in October.

In her interview with Hill.TV, the White House hopeful emphasized that she reached the donor threshold, and doubled down on her criticism of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) over its polling criteria.

“The DNC has set out its qualifications — there’s been a lack of transparency and how they’ve determined those qualifications, which polls they see as credible or which they’ll recognize and which they won’t,” Gabbard told Hill.TV. 

In response to Gabbard's renewed criticism, DNC spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa emphasized that the committee set the qualification criteria for the September and October debates in May, giving candidates plenty of time to qualify. 

"The polling threshold was set low at 2 percent in 4 or more polls, and there were 21 qualifying polls ahead of the September debate - 21 opportunities to hit 2 percent," Hinojosa said in a statement. "The polling window has also been longer than ever, and there were more polling sponsors than ever before."

The DNC previously raised the threshold to qualify for the October debate, requiring candidates to poll above 2 percent in four DNC-approved polls and raise money from at least 130,000 unique donors.

Gabbard’s campaign has said that she has qualified in at least 26 national and early state polls, but only two of those are recognized on the DNC’s “certified” list.

DNC officials, meanwhile, have dismissed complaints about its debate criteria.

“I’ve heard these complaints — I don’t think that they’re rooted in anything,” Adrienne Watson, who is a director of the DNC Trump War Room, told Hill.TV earlier this month.

— Tess Bonn