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Michael Bennet slams DNC for exclusive debate rules

Michael Bennet said he was not happy with the Democratic National Convention for its rules that prevented him from participating in the third debate.

DENVER — What do the Democratic National Committee and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) have in common?

They’ve both been on the receiving end of some choice words from Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado). 

Bennet expressed his frustration Friday with the DNC’s rules that prevent him from participating in the third Democratic primary debate.

RELATED: Bennet puts himself in the middle of health care conversation during second Democratic debate

“We’re rewarding celebrity candidates with millions of Twitter followers, billionaires who buy their way onto the debate stage, and candidates who have been running for president for years," he said. "It forces campaigns to force over millions of dollars to Facebook, the same platform that let the Russians interfere in 2016, instead of harnessing the resources to talk to voters.

“If we wanted to be the party that excluded people, we’d be Republicans.”

Twenty presidential challengers participated in the second debate. Only 10 Democrats met the DNC threshold to move to the third: former Vice President Joe Biden, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

RELATED: New, tougher Democratic debate rules frustrate longshot candidates

A candidate must meet a 2% polling threshold and have 130,000 unique donors, with a minimum of 400 unique donors per state in at least 20 states, to qualify by the Aug. 28 deadline. If the DNC certifies any other candidates by then, the debate will spill into a second night.

ABC hosts the third debate in Houston on Sept. 12. ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir, correspondent Linsey Davis and Univision anchor Jorge Ramos will moderate.

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper withdrew from the race last week.

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