Martin O'Malley outraged about Democratic debate schedule -- others not so much

Who is Martin O'Malley?
Who is Martin O'Malley?

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Story highlights

  • Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's campaign expressed outrage over the newly announced debate schedule
  • The other Democratic campaigns had relatively muted responses to the schedule
Watch CNN's "The Lead" at 4 p.m. Thursday August 6, 2015 for an interview with Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley.

Washington (CNN)Presidential candidates set to participate in the six newly announced Democratic National Committee-sanctioned debates responded with either outrage or had not much of a reaction at all.

Bill Hyers, a top strategist for former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who has regularly criticized the Democratic committee for what he says is tilting the scale for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, said the debate schedule "seems geared toward limiting debate and facilitating a coronation, not promoting a robust debate and primary process."
"The schedule they have proposed does not give voters -- nationally, and especially in early states -- ample opportunity to hear from the Democratic candidates for president," Hyers said in a statement released almost immediately after the DNC put out the schedule.
    The DNC announced Thursday that the five Democrats running for president would debate at total of six times. The first debate, hosted by CNN, will be October 13 in Nevada. Only two debates announced by the Democratic body would fall after the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary.
    O'Malley's team has tried to use the DNC debate schedules to cast the governor as fighting for voters in Iowa and New Hampshire over party leaders in Washington. Hyers said the debate schedule is "one of the slimmest that I have ever seen. Literally."
    Holly Shulman, the DNC's national press secretary, said the party is "thrilled to hear that Governor O'Malley is eager to participate in our debates."
    "We believe that six debates will give plenty of opportunity for the candidates to be seen side-by-side," she said. "I'm sure there will be lots of other forums for the candidates to make their case to voters, and that they will make the most out of every opportunity."
    O'Malley is not the only Democrat demanding more debates. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said on Thursday that he was "disappointed, but not surprised" at the debate schedule.
    "At a time when many Americans are demoralized about politics and have given up on the political process, I think it's imperative that we have as many debates as possible -- certainly more than six. I look forward to working with the DNC to see if we can significantly expand the proposed debate schedule," Sanders said in a statement.
    The other Democrats running, in fact, reacted to the debate schedule with a big shrug.
    Craig Crawford, spokesman for former Sen. Jim Webb, quite simply said this when asked for reaction about the debates: "We'll be there."
    And Debbie Rich, spokeswoman for former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, said that the 2016 candidate "is looking forward to the debates."
    After the DNC announced the early sketches of their debate schedule earlier this year, Clinton's aides said the former secretary of state and frontrunner was supportive of the six debate plan.
    Jesse Ferguson, Clinton's deputy national press secretary, issued a statement after the schedule was released but didn't call for addtional debate.
    "As she has noted in the past, Hillary Clinton is looking forward to joining her fellow Democratic candidates in the upcoming DNC-sanctioned debates. Unlike the Republican debates about their out-of-date agenda, we believe these debates will be a great conversation around issues that matter to everyday Americans and the Democratic ideals for moving America forward."