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 PatrickTop Democratic super PACs team up to boost Biden Andrew Yang endorses Biden in 2020 race Deval Patrick backs Biden 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 Devi HarrisIs Texas learning to love ObamaCare? Democrats ask EPA, Interior to pause rulemaking amid coronavirus Politicians mourn the death of Bill Withers 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 BookerDemocrats urge administration to automatically issue coronavirus checks to more people Democrats ask EPA, Interior to pause rulemaking amid coronavirus Politicians mourn the death of Bill Withers 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 BidenThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden struggles to stay in the spotlight Is Texas learning to love ObamaCare? Romney warns Trump: Don't interfere with coronavirus relief oversight MORE, Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill Democratic senators want probe into change of national stockpile description Democrats ask EPA, Interior to pause rulemaking amid coronavirus MORE (D-Mass.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Energy: Oil giants meet with Trump at White House | Interior extends tenure of controversial land management chief | Oil prices tick up on hopes of Russia-Saudi deal Oil giants meet at White House amid talk of buying strategic reserves The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden struggles to stay in the spotlight MORE (I-Vt.) and Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDemocrats fear coronavirus impact on November turnout Hillicon Valley: Zoom draws new scrutiny amid virus fallout | Dems step up push for mail-in voting | Google to lift ban on political ads referencing coronavirus Democrats press Trump, GOP for funding for mail-in ballots MORE (D-Minn.), former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegButtigieg launches new PAC to aid down-ballot candidates HuffPost political reporter on why Bernie fell way behind Biden Economists fear slow pace of testing will prolong recession MORE (D) and billionaire philanthropist Tom SteyerTom SteyerProgressive advocates propose T 'green stimulus' plan Candidates want data privacy rules, except for their own campaigns Budowsky: Biden should pull together a 'dream team of rivals' MORE.