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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

PolitiFact Florida: DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz's misleading claim about debate schedule



Responding to rampant criticism about the Democratic Party’s presidential debate schedule, Debbie Wasserman Schultz has boasted about viewership numbers.

The critics include party leaders as well as Hillary Clinton’s primary rivals, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. Some Democrats say that the schedule of six debates including some on weekends limits voters’ exposure, giving Clinton an edge.

But Wasserman Schultz says ratings show that voters have had plenty of TV face time with the Democratic candidates.

"In fact, our first debate beat at least two of the Republican debates. And our last debate, compared to the Republican last debate, was just a little bit less than theirs," the Democratic National Committee chair told CNN’s Brian Stelter Jan. 17, hours before the debate over the Martin Luther King weekend in Charleston.

After Stelter pressed her, Wasserman Schultz, a Broward County congresswoman, replied:

"Brian, there's no number of debates that will satisfy everyone. So, I did my best to make sure, along with my staff and along with our debate partners, to come up with a schedule that we felt was going to maximize the opportunity for voters to see our candidates."

Clearly, we can't rate what people within the Democratic party intended. Our fact-check looks at what the outcome was. Did the Democrats "maximize the opportunity" for voters to see their candidates? PolitiFact found there’s no fair reading of the Democratic debate schedule that supports this. See how we rated her statement.

[Last modified: Thursday, January 21, 2016 10:30am]


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