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'
© UPI Photo

Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom PerezThomas 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.” 

ADVERTISEMENT

His comments came after former Massachusetts Gov. Deval PatrickDeval PatrickOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court sides with oil companies in Baltimore case| White House environmental justice advisers express opposition to nuclear, carbon capture projects | Biden administration to develop performance standards for federal buildings Approving Kristen Clarke's nomination should be a no-brainer To unite America, Biden administration must brace for hate 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. 

ADVERTISEMENT

“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 HarrisBiden, Harris push big lie about Border Patrol Two 'View' hosts test positive for coronavirus ahead of Harris interview Rep. Karen Bass to run for mayor of Los Angeles: report 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 BookerLawmakers gear up for spending bill, infrastructure votes Booker: End of police reform negotiations a 'frustrating experience' Sunday shows - All eyes on spending votes 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 BidenPelosi sets Thursday vote on bipartisan infrastructure bill Pressure grows to cut diplomatic red tape for Afghans left behind President Biden is making the world a more dangerous place MORE, Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenIn defense of share buybacks Democrats urge Biden to go all in with agenda in limbo In Washington, the road almost never taken MORE (D-Mass.), Bernie SandersBernie Sanders Texas House Republican tests positive for coronavirus in latest breakthrough case In defense of share buybacks Progressives seething over Biden's migrant policies MORE (I-Vt.) and Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Officials want action on cyberattacks Senate panel advances antitrust bill that eyes Google, Facebook This week: Democrats face mounting headaches MORE (D-Minn.), former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegDOJ sues to block JetBlue-American Airlines partnership On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Pelosi plows full speed ahead on jam-packed agenda Blumenthal calls on Buttigieg to investigate American Airlines-JetBlue partnership MORE (D) and billionaire philanthropist Tom SteyerTom SteyerOvernight Energy: 'Eye of fire,' Exxon lobbyist's comments fuel renewed attacks on oil industry | Celebrities push Biden to oppose controversial Minnesota pipeline | More than 75 companies ask Congress to pass clean electricity standard Celebrities push Biden to oppose controversial Minnesota pipeline Six things to watch as California heads for recall election MORE.