Democratic Party boss pushes back on criticism: Debate rules 'very transparent,' 'very inclusive'

Democratic Party boss pushes back on criticism: Debate rules 'very transparent,' 'very inclusive'
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Democratic National Committee (DNC) 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 defended the party’s debate stage requirements as “transparent” and “inclusive” amid criticism on Tuesday from some presidential candidates over the lack of diversity among the six participants that will be on stage in Iowa. 

“We made the rules, they were very transparent, they're very inclusive, and we can't change the rules midstream because there's a candidate that I wish were on but didn't make the debate stage,” Perez said Tuesday morning on CNN’s “New Day.” 

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His comments came after former Massachusetts Gov. Deval PatrickDeval PatrickIt's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Top Democratic super PACs team up to boost Biden Andrew Yang endorses Biden in 2020 race MORE (D), a late entry to the field, released a statement slamming the “leadership of the Democratic party” for choosing criteria that has “not served to demonstrate" to voters the “breadth and depth of diverse talent in the field.” He called for a reconsideration for the criteria for participating in future debates. 

“I love Deval Patrick, he is my former boss, I think the world of him,” Perez said. “He is polling at about 1 percent right now in the national polls.” 

Perez defended the criteria, saying that candidates had to reach “5 percent in four out of 23 polls” leading up to the debate. 

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“Let me give you a point of reference,” Perez added. “Four years ago, you needed to average 5 percent in the five polls leading up to Iowa. So the bar was much higher in the past.”

“What we said every month was that the closer we got to Iowa we would do what we’ve always done, which is raise the bar,” he said. “And last month we had eight people who made the debate stage, three women two candidates of color and an openly gay candidate. Remarkable diversity.”

The six candidates set to appear on stage Tuesday are all white. Perez pointed out that Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris to host virtual Hollywood campaign event co-chaired by Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling Democrats hammer Trump for entertaining false birther theory about Harris Hillicon Valley: 'Fortnite' owner sues Apple after game is removed from App Store | Federal agencies seize, dismantle cryptocurrency campaigns of major terrorist organizations MORE (D-Calif.), who dropped out of the race, made the debate stage last month and he had “no doubt” she would’ve qualified again. 

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerOn The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden, Harris make first public appearance as running mates Booker hits back at Trump tweet, mocks misspelling of name MORE (D-N.J.) had also been critical of the lack of diversity in the field and in the late debates. Booker ended his campaign Monday. He had not qualified for Tuesday’s debate or the debate in December. 

The candidates who qualified for the debate are former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHarris to host virtual Hollywood campaign event co-chaired by Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling Trump plans to accept Republican nomination from White House lawn US seizes four vessels loaded with Iranian fuel MORE, Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenChris Wallace: Trump struggling with attacks on 'shape-shifter' Harris Markey riffs on JFK quote in new ad touting progressive bona fides Howard Kurtz: Kamala Harris 'getting walk on water coverage' by media after VP pick MORE (D-Mass.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersChris Wallace: Trump struggling with attacks on 'shape-shifter' Harris Kamala Harris: The outreach Latinos need Biden and Harris seen as more moderate than Trump and Pence: poll MORE (I-Vt.) and Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharElection security advocates see strong ally in Harris The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - The choice: Biden-Harris vs. Trump-Pence California Democrats back Yang after he expresses disappointment over initial DNC lineup MORE (D-Minn.), former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - The choice: Biden-Harris vs. Trump-Pence California Democrats back Yang after he expresses disappointment over initial DNC lineup Obamas, Clintons to headline Biden's nominating convention MORE (D) and billionaire philanthropist Tom SteyerTom SteyerCalifornia Democrats back Yang after he expresses disappointment over initial DNC lineup Steyer endorses reparations bill, commits to working with Jackson Lee Progressive group launches M pro-Biden ad buy targeting young voters MORE.