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Sanders blasts DNC rules that could allow Bloomberg to debate

Sanders blasts DNC rules that could allow Bloomberg to debate
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Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Trump mocks Joe Biden's drive-in rallies at North Carolina event Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' MORE (I-Vt.) on Thursday blasted the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) recent decision to eliminate its fundraising requirement for candidates to qualify for debates, potentially allowing his Democratic presidential rival Mike Bloomberg on stage.

"I think it is an outrage,” Sanders said during a press conference in New Hampshire. "Listen, rules are rules, and people like [former Housing and Urban Development Secretary] Julián Castro played by the rules, campaigned really hard. [New Jersey Sen.] Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDemocratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Obama endorses Espy in Mississippi Senate race Durbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority MORE played by the rules. [Hawaii Rep.] Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardHarris faces biggest moment in spotlight yet Ocasio-Cortez slams Tulsi Gabbard for amplifying ballot harvesting video Republicans call on DOJ to investigate Netflix over 'Cuties' film MORE played by the rules. Andrew YangAndrew YangPelosi spars with CNN's Blitzer over COVID-19 aid: 'You really don't know what you're talking about' The shape of guaranteed income Biden's latest small business outreach is just ... awful MORE played by the rules.”

All the people Sanders mentioned are, or were at one time, competing in the Democratic primary.

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“And based on the rules determined by the DNC, they were unable to participate in one or more debates,” he added.

Sanders and other candidates in the race have criticized the DNC's move last week to drop a donor requirement, which has opened the door for Bloomberg to make the debate stage.

Bloomberg was not allowed to participate in the first Democratic debates because he is self-funding his campaign and did not meet the DNC's requirement that candidates raise money from a certain number of contributors.

Under the rules rolled out last week, Democrats can meet either a delegates threshold or polling threshold to qualify for the Feb. 19 debate in Las Vegas. That could open the possibility for Bloomberg, who has risen in recent national polls, to appear in the event.

The billionaire former mayor of New York City has been running an untraditional campaign, skipping the first voting contests in the primary and instead focusing his resources on March 3, known as Super Tuesday, when more than a dozen states will hold voting.

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Sanders on Thursday slammed the party’s decision to change the rules for someone “worth $55 billion,” referring to Bloomberg without calling him out by name. 

“Suddenly a guy comes in who has not campaigned one bit in Iowa or New Hampshire … but he’s worth $55 billion and I guess if you’re worth $55 billion you can get the rules changed for a debate,” Sanders said.

A spokesperson for the DNC was not immediately available for comment.