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Gabbard on DNC Chair Denying Banning Her From Debate: ‘That’s Just Not True’

Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” moments after Democratic National Committee chairwomen Debbie Wasserman Schultz denied  that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) was disinvited from the first Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas, Gabbard told Mitchell, “That’s just not true.”

Mitchell asked, “Congresswoman, what happened here? She says that it’s not the case that you were not told you couldn’t come, that she simply wanted you to stop discussing the debate structure and discuss the issues.”

Gabbard said, “I can’t say much more than to say that that’s just not true. I was on your network, MSNBC, talking on “Meet the Press Daily” about how we do need more debates. The same thing that I have been saying now for several weeks. And the very next day got a message saying that if I’m going to continue talking about that, that I shouldn’t go to the debate.”

She continued, “It’s not surprising to me that she is saying things that aren’t true. About a month ago, shortly after I called for more debates, the chairwoman said publicly that she had communicated and consulted with vice chairs and officers of the DNC prior to making her decision, both about the number of debates as well as this retribution policy of the exclusivity clause. The fact is, there was no communication or no consultation with the vice chairs and officers, of which I am one, so it’s unfortunate that she continues to say things that aren’t true. But what I would like to focus on is the issue of democracy, the issue of freedom of speech, which is really the core principle here in my call for more debates and in my call to get rid of this retribution policy that punishes these very serious presidential candidates from going out and engaging the American people across the country in different forums and different debates if they do so outside of the six DNC sanctioned debates.”

She added, “All I can say is that I and other officers were not included in that conversation prior to the chairwoman unilaterally making the decision to limit debates to six, and to punish those who step outside of those lines and talk to communities and participate in debates that are so-called unsanctioned by the DNC. I think it’s wrong. And I think it doesn’t represent the democratic values that our party should be standing for.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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