At the Democrats’ August meeting, each announced presidential candidate had a turn to speak. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee were all invited to speak before members of the Democratic National Committee. However, Webb did not attend, protesting the DNC’s fundraising agreement with the Clinton campaign. All other candidates attended and spoke on Friday.
O’Malley used most of his fifteen minute block to attack the Democratic National Committee and its debate schedule.
The DNC has scheduled six debates and the number is a sharp decline from 2008’s number of debates. O’Malley has been the most prominent opponent to the number of debates and has said that the small number of debates unfairly favors Clinton.
At one point in his speech, O’Malley asked, “We are the Democratic Party, not the Undemocratic Party.” The audience could be heard oohing.
The atmosphere was a tad awkward as O’Malley spent his time attacking the party leaders that he was speaking to. DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz looked down at the floor during the speech. At the end of his speech, O’Malley walked over to her and leaned in to give her a kiss. Wasserman Schultz shook his hand instead and continued to walk online. A staffer for Jeb Bush captured the video and tweeted it out with the caption, “Awkward.” The tweet went viral.
“He chose to use that 15 minutes to focus on debates as opposed to his candidacy. That was certainly his right,” the chairwoman said.
“I just said thank you. I have more class than that,” Wasserman Schultz said later on. “I shook his hand and went to the podium.”