Wasserman Shultz: Gabbard DNC statement 'simply not true'

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: I was unwelcomed from the debate
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Story highlights

  • Gabbard said DNC officers not involved in debate limit
  • Gabbard was disinvited to the debate after asking for more debates
Watch the first Democratic presidential debate Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. ET live on CNN and CNNgo; join the conversation at #DemDebate.

Washington (CNN)A feud within the Democrat Party continued to spill over into public view with Democratic National Committee officials accusing each other this week of not telling the truth.

DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's said Wednesday that Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's claim that she and other DNC officers were not involved in the decision to limit the Democratic debates to six is false.
"I think it's really unfortunate that Congresswoman Gabbard is focused on anything other than making sure that we can highlight our incredible candidates. What she's saying is simply not true," Wasserman Shultz said on CNN.
    "I spoke with her and a number of others," she added. "We don't have an approval process. Ultimately, the party chair is a full time job. I've got a lot of decisions to make. Of course, we consult and talk to people throughout the process. But at the end of the day, I have to make the kinds of decisions that are going to help us to be the most effective."
    Gabbard, a DNC vice chair who wants more Democratic debates, told CNN Tuesday that Wasserman Shultz did not involve her in that decision process.
    "I want to make it very clear that the chairwoman had claimed a month ago that she had spoken with, communicated and consulted with officers of the DNC about her decision to limit debates to six and to put this retribution policy in place, this exclusivity clause. And that never occurred," Gabbard said on CNN.
    "I can tell you, speaking for myself, that I didn't find out about her decision until after the fact. There was no consultation and no communication."
    Wasserman Schultz told Wolf Blitzer Tuesday that Gabbard has decided to make herself the focus of the debate.
    "She spent a lot of this morning continuing to focus on process and herself instead of our great candidates, which is really unfortunate," Wasserman Schultz said Tuesday. "This is the problem. She wants to distract from the focus that needs to be on our candidates."
    "We have one of our officers sadly quibbling about process. It's not about her or me. This is about moving America forward. That's what I'm focused on," she added.
    Wasserman Schultz said she's attempted to contact Gabbard, but that Gabbard is not interested in talking.
    "I've repeatedly offered to talk to Congresswoman Gabbard and thus far, she has refused to do so," Wasserman Schultz said.
    Gabbard previously said she was disinvited from Tuesday night's first Democratic debate after voicing a call for more of them.
    "We have some very serious candidates running for president. And the policy that the chairwoman has put in place basically says that if they participate in any other debate outside of the DNC six sanctioned debates, then they'll be punished. They won't be allowed to participate in any of the DNC debates," she said Tuesday. "This is just wrong, in my view."
    Gabbard told Blitzer on Monday on "The Situation Room" that she was told her vocal support for more debates had made her "no longer welcome to come to the debate."
    Gabbard said the message was conveyed to her chief-of-staff from the chief-of-staff of Wasserman Schultz.
    "The prevailing message of that was that because I continued to call for more debates, that I should not go to the debate in Las Vegas," Gabbard previously said. "The issue here is not about me saying, 'Boo hoo, I'm going to miss the party.' The issue here is one of democracy and freedom of speech."
    Both Bernie Sanders' and Martin O'Malley's campaigns have called for more debates. But Wasserman Schultz has remained steadfast in her decision that there will only be six sanctioned debates for the Democratic presidential candidates.