The former labor secretary issued a correction via Twitter, but his comments about the primary being rigged were backed up by specific examples…
Candidates vying to lead the Democratic National Committee are in a bind. The party never really recovered from the bruising 2016 primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and attempts to reconcile the two wings have been futile thus far.
It doesn’t help matters that the two leading candidates for the job, former Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), represent the Clinton and Sanders wings of the party, respectively.
So when Perez was campaigning in Kansas this week, he attempted to bridge the gap by agreeing with Sanders supporters who said the primary was “rigged” by the DNC in favor of Clinton:
“We heard loudly and clearly yesterday from Bernie supporters that the process was rigged and it was. And you’ve got to be honest about it. That’s why we need a chair who is transparent,” Perez said.
That prompted a massive retraction by Perez, who later in the day issued two tweets disavowing his previous statement, saying he “misspoke”:
Hillary became our nominee fair and square, and she won more votes in the primary—and general—than her opponents.
— Tom Perez (@TomPerez) February 9, 2017
But a closer look at the story shows he did not misspeak. Rather, he quite clearly explained why he said what he did:
Sanders supporters alleged that the DNC scheduled presidential primary debates at inopportune times to prevent candidates other than Clinton from getting a chance to be seen by the widest possible audience.
Perez, who touted hiring both former Clinton and Sanders staffers, said that next time, the party should plan its debates before the candidates are in the race, “so there’s no question whatsoever.”
Expect embarrassing walk-backs like this to persist as long as Perez continues his outreach to both wings of the party.
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