The Latest: Bennet slams debate rules at Democratic meeting

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., gestures while speaking at the Democratic National Committee's summer meeting Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, in San Francisco. More than a dozen Democratic presidential hopefuls are making their way to California to curry favor with national party activists from around country. Democratic National Committee members will hear Friday from top contenders, including Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on a summer meeting of the Democratic National Committee in California (all times local):

11:25 a.m.

Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado is kicking off a Democratic National Committee gathering by slamming the party's qualifying rules for the presidential primary debates.

Bennet on Friday accused the party of "stifling debate at a time we need it most."

The DNC has set donation and polling thresholds to qualify for debates as it faces a massive field of candidates. Bennet says he won't meet the requirements to participate in September's presidential debate.

He's also criticizing the fact that Washington Gov. Jay Inslee was excluded from a presidential climate forum on CNN. Inslee, who made climate change the central tenet of his campaign, ended his 2020 presidential bid this week.

Bennet also says he thinks the debates should allow for lengthier exchanges among candidates on policy.

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8:35 a.m.

More than a dozen Democratic presidential hopefuls are making their way to California to curry favor with national party activists from around country.

Democratic National Committee members will hear Friday from top contenders, including Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders.

Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg are skipping the meeting to campaign in the first primary state of New Hampshire.

Biden continues to top national and most early state polls, but he doesn't have a commanding lead.

DNC members are in a new position for 2020 after they gave up their votes on the first nominating ballot of the 2020 convention. But they still could play a role if Democrats' sprawling field results in a contested convention that requires multiple ballots to pick a nominee.

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