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OTR Interviews

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard doubles down on claim she was disinvited from Democratic debate

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 13, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, the Hawaii Democrat and DNC vice chair disinvited for the Democratic debate. And Gabbard says it's because she called for more debates during the 2016 election season. Republicans will have 11 debates, but the Democrats only six.

And now the Democratic National Committee has denied that it told Gabbard to stay away from the debate tonight.

Congresswoman Representative Tulsi Gabbard goes ON THE RECORD.

And I should say new major in the Army National Guard. Is that right? Have you been promoted yesterday to major?

REP. TULSI GABBARD, D-HAWAII: Yes. It was a very special and moving ceremony.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, congratulations and I should also say aloha. Now, tell me, what is the problem here?

GABBARD: Aloha.

VAN SUSTEREN: Aloha. What is the problem here? Because Debbie Wasserman-Schultz says that you are not disinvited. Were you disinvited from the debate or not?

GABBARD: Greta, yes, I was. And I will leave it at that. We are about to kick off the debate here shortly and I think it's important for us to focus on the variety of very substantive and important issues that the American people are concerned about and that are facing our country.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, let's say -- you weren't disinvited because there was some particular spat, but rather because you thought that there should be more debates in the Democratic Party and that apparently has rubbed the chairman the wrong way. Is that a fair statement?

GABBARD: Greta, you know, I have been very public and vocal about my belief in democracy and my strong feeling that not only there should be more debates and opportunities for the American people to hear from our presidential candidates, but also that this exclusivity clause should be removed.

But, again, I think, right now, it's really important for us to focus on the presidential candidates who are going to be taking the stage here shortly and talking about the issues that the American people are concerned about.

(CROSSTALK)

I know one issue that's on the top of my mind if I can bring it up here is what's happening right now in Syria. What's happening in the Middle East. We just heard news yesterday about the administration dropping 50 tons of weapons in Northern Syria.

We have no confidence to whose hands those weapons are going into. All we do know is that they will end up in the hands of one stripe of Islamic extremist or another because these are the people who are fighting to overthrow Assad whether it's al-Qaeda, al-Nusra or these other Islamic extremist groups.

So I think it's important for the candidates to answer the question tonight -- do you support -- what is your position on working with our enemy al- Qaeda, al-Nusra and these other groups and overthrowing Assad when we know for sure that if and when Assad is overthrown, considering their theory and their mission, then ISIS, al Qaeda, these Islamic extremist groups will take over and we will see a humanitarian disaster like never before and a greater threat to our country and the world.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Congresswoman, I just want to say one thing in reference to the spat and I'm not going to beat a dead horse. I'm team Gabbard on this one. It's that I think more debates are great for democracy. Republican ought to have more debates and Democrats ought to have more debates. So I'm with you on that one.

Anyway, so you will be watching tonight, right?

GABBARD: I'll be watching tonight, Greta. And I want to mention one more issue that I have been really vocal about within Congress. And that is the issue of the Kurds who have been our most effective ground fighting force in the fight against ISIS, both in Iraq as well as in Syria.

We've got a situation here where Turkey has been targeting these very same Kurds. They have been targeting and dropping hundreds and hundreds of bombs, attacking these ground fighters who have been those, who have been most effective against ISIS.

The fact that the administration has stood silently by and allowed this to happen, including NATO, I think it's important for those candidates on the stage tonight to address this situation and to address how they will approach this and taking action.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, I have a wish list. I wish they would talk about president of Sudan, Bashir, who's indicted for genocide. But I don't think I'm going to get my wish on that one. But, anyway, Congresswoman, nice to see you and we'll all be watching. Thank you.

GABBARD: Thanks, Greta. Aloha.