Martin O’Malley is eager for debates. So eager, in fact, that the Democratic presidential hopeful on Thursday signed an online petition seeking to make comedian Jon Stewart, the recently retired host of “The Daily Show,” a presidential debate moderator.
“Signed,” the former Maryland governor said on Twitter Thursday night, where he provided a link to the petition on change.org. “John Stewart moderating or not, #WeNeedDebate.”
O’Malley, who lags far behind Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in Democratic polls, has been complaining to anyone who will listen about a schedule of six debates sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee slated to start in mid-October.
O’Malley would like to see more debates, starting sooner, and he is particularly peeved about a DNC rule saying that any candidate who participates in a debate not sanctioned by the party could be banned from debates that are sanctioned by the party.
On Thursday night, O’Malley joined more than 122,000 other people who had signed a petition asserting that Stewart, whose show appeared on Comedy Central, “is more than qualified to tackle the moderating job.” Stewart’s qualifications, the petition says, includes having interviewed numerous heads of state and U.S. government officials and “establishing himself as the most trusted person in (satirical) news.”
The petition seeks to make Stewart a moderator of one of the general election debates next year.
O’Malley is seeking to call attention to the Democratic debates that his aides believe could play a pivotal role in the process of picking the party’s nominee. Aides say that O’Malley, who proved an able debater in his two campaigns for governor, will benefit from the side-by-side comparison with Clinton and Sanders and from the exposure the nationally televised encounters will provide.
During a news conference Wednesday in Las Vegas, O’Malley repeated his charge that the DNC is “circling the wagons” to protect Clinton by not exposing her to more debates. The DNC has said six debates is plenty.
O’Malley spokeswoman Haley Morris said Thursday that O’Malley was a fan of “The Daily Show.”
“A Jon Stewart-moderated debate would be more informative than the Trump-dominated GOP sideshow that’s going unanswered, so he’s game,” Morris said, referring, of course, to Donald Trump, the real estate mogul who has emerged as the Republican front-runner.