Speed Reads

Democratic debates

Bernie Sanders spokesman slams Saturday night debate slot: 'I guess Christmas Eve was booked'

Ahead of yet another inconveniently timed Democratic debate Saturday night, Hillary Clinton's competitors are grumbling.

"They've scheduled it during shopping season, December 19th," former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said. "I don't know why that is. I think it's out of a false sense that they have to circle the wagons around the inevitable frontrunner."

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders seems to have taken the bad timing more in stride, but his spokesman's statement indicates he's also not thrilled that people will more likely be watching football or sipping on eggnog at a holiday party than tuning in to a debate. "We're playing the hand we were dealt," Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said. "I guess Christmas Eve was booked."

This is the second Democratic debates that has been scheduled for a Saturday night. Scheduling the Democratic debates at inconvenient times, some say, puts lesser known candidates at a disadvantage. The last two Democratic debates drew a combined total of nearly 25 million viewers, which is about even with the record-setting first GOP debate alone. The last two Republican debates combined totaled 31.5 million viewers.

The Democratic National Committee, however, is confident that the combination of the debates and forums with other events will allow candidates plenty of time to get their messages out to voters.