Vice chair of DNC accuses Debbie Wasserman Schultz of lying about consulting on debate schedule
The head of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has been caught in a lie, and some powerful Democrats are calling her out on it.
Vice chairman R.T. Ryback and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard both claim that Wasserman Schultz's statement that she consulted with members of the DNC when she decided to hold six Democratic debates is "simply not true," and Gabbard is questioning the chairman's judgment and her ability to continue in her position.
“This is a chair of the Democratic Party wrongly stating that she consulted with all of the party officers. I was not consulted. I know that [Rep.] Tulsi Gabbard [D-Hawaii] was not consulted. And this is becoming about much more than debates.”
Rybak's comments are the latest salvo in an internal party fight over the number of presidential primary debates.
The DNC is planning to hold 6 debates, but many, including presidential contenders Martin O'Malley and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), have called for more. Ryback and his fellow DNC vice chair Gabbard also publicly called for more debates.
Gabbard said she was disinvited from the first Dem debate, held on Tuesday Oct. 13, after repeating her calls.
According to reports, DNC officials said that Gabbard was not disinvited, but that Wasserman Schultz wanted to avoid distractions and keep the "focus" on the candidates in the debate. Wasserman Schultz also said she had consulted with others in the party about the timing and number of debates.
Gabbard responded by accusing Wasserman Schultz of making statements "that aren't true."
Rybak on Thursday insisted he had never been consulted and also questioned Wasserman Schultz judgment.
“The Democratic National Committee staff has never been stronger,” he told The Times. ”The one thing that could stop us from having a great election coming up is if the chair continues to create these self-made dramas that are below what a chair should be doing.
“I am seriously questioning whether she has the capacity to do what has to be done,” he added. “And that’s why I’m doing what I wanted not to do for a long time, which is go public with my serious questions of whether she can lead this party.”
Wasserman Schultz is a serial liar and gaffe machine, but this is the first time anyone so high up in the Democratic Party has questioned her veracity. And those two leaders are probably not alone. There has been a lot of grumbling from all quarters of the party that DWS is little more than a Clinton mouthpiece and is rigging the debates to favor her. There is no doubt about that, as Hillary, despite all her troubles, is still the favorite of the Democratic establishment.
The Democrats aren't likely to make a change – unless Wasserman Schultz continues to embarrass the party with statements like she made last week about Republicans wanting to "kick women out of the country." It's those kinds of gaffes that make the party look dangerous and crazy, which makes it hard to run a campaign accusing Republicans of the same thing.
Meanwhile, DWS is sticking to her guns about the number of debates. The only way that will change is if Hillary Clinton wants more debates, which isn't likely, given her wide lead over the rest of the field.