Inslee hits back at DNC decision not to hold climate debate

Inslee hits back at DNC decision not to hold climate debate
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Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeDemocratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall The Hill's Campaign Report: Second debate lineups set up high-profile clash Biden, Harris set for second Democratic debate showdown MORE's (D) campaign hit back at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Saturday after it denied the presidential candidate's request to have a primary debate focused solely on climate change.

The governor's campaign responded directly to comments a DNC spokesperson made on Friday in which they maintained that the group could not allow individual candidates to dictate the topics of debates.

“Once we start allowing one candidate to dictate what the debate is about, we have to say ‘yes’ to all of them on their core issue. Otherwise people would say we are benefiting one candidate,” a spokesperson told The Huffington Post.

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Inslee campaign manager Aisling Kerins responded in a statement Saturday, saying, "The climate debate isn’t about any one campaign, it’s about our one blue planet."

"The grassroots have led the climate debate effort from the beginning, and half of the presidential candidates have supported their call for a climate debate. Climate change is already starting to destroy everything we hold dear,” Kerins said.

“The DNC’s comments today diminish the organizing effort of our partner progressive organizations who have been demanding a climate debate. It’s time for the DNC to listen to the grassroots of the party, and give defeating climate change the attention it needs.”

Inslee had initially said Wednesday that the DNC had rebuffed his requests to hold a climate debate.

The Washington governor has made climate change the cornerstone of his long-shot presidential bid. Several other 2020 contenders have joined his call to have a primary debate devoted to the issue, citing statistics suggesting the impacts of climate change are growing and that time to reverse several alarming trends is diminishing. 

“Gov. Inslee is exactly right. Climate change is the biggest challenge we face. Every candidate running for president should have a serious set of policies to address it, and should be eager to defend those proposals in a debate,” Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenHarris faces pressure to define policy proposals Harris voices support for Puerto Rico protesters: 'I stand with them' Democrats slam Puerto Rico governor over 'shameful' comments, back protesters MORE (D-Mass.) wrote on Twitter earlier this week.

Over 50 DNC members are also asking Chairman Tom PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE to hold a climate change debate, circulating a petition among members that will be submitted for official consideration at a DNC meeting later this month.