Green Party candidate arrested outside debate site

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and running mate Cheri Honkala were arrested outside Long Island's Hofstra University ahead of tonight's debate. 

After being denied entrance to the campus because they lacked credentials, the two candidates sat down in the street in front of the university with an American flag on their laps, the Long Island Report explains. They were led away by police officers after refusing to move. 

Stein and Honkala objected to being excluded from the debate, saying they are on 85 percent of state ballots and should be part of the national discussion. 

"Democracy starts today with opening up the debates for every single political party in the United States of America," Honkala told reporters. 

The Commission on Presidential Debates, founded by the Democratic and Republican parties, mandates that a candidate must have at least 15 percent support in national polls to be included. Since the CPD's inception in the 1988 campaign, that has only happened once -- when Ross Perot went onstage with President George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton in 1992. 

Stein, a former physician, actually debated Romney in 2002 when she ran for governor of Massachusetts on the Green-Rainbow Party ticket. In one local television network's post-debate poll, 32 percent of viewers said she won. 

-WATCH: Live video of the debate

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

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