It is rare in politics for a candidate who is seeking a party’s presidential nomination to tell the party leadership that it is wrong.

It is ever rarer for a candidate to do so at a formal meeting of the party’s leadership.

And it is rarer still for a candidate to make his or her complaint when the media are present.

But former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley picked a public fight with the Democratic National Committee at its summer meeting. And he was right to do so.

Addressing the DNC session on Friday, O’Malley ripped party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the rest of the leadership team for limiting the number of debates among the five announced candidates for the nomination.

“We are the Democratic Party, not the Undemocratic Party,” he declared. “If we are to debate debates, the topic should be how many, not how few.”

Both O’Malley and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders have criticized DNC chair Schultz’s announcement that the party would sanction just four debates before the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary begin the nominating process.

Under the DNC’s current plan, the Democrats are scheduling far fewer debates than the Republicans. And the Democratic debates will start far later than the Republican debates.

“I think that that is dead wrong and I have let the leadership of the Democrats know that,” Sanders said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “I think this country benefits, all people benefit, democracy benefits when we have debates and I want to see more of them. I think that debates are a good thing.”

Calls for more debates are common from candidates who are trying to catch up with a front-runner—in this case former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. But O’Malley upped the volume at the DNC meeting when he made the demand for more debates central to his remarks—and central to an argument that the Democratic Party will be harmed by constricting the discourse:

All of you are aware the Republicans held their first two debates earlier this month. They will hold another in a couple weeks…. You could easily have mistaken their debate for a reality TV show, like Survivor. But the difference between the Republican debate and Survivor is that one involves contrived challenges and oddball contestants on the edge of sanity, while the other takes place on an island.

But here is the sad hard truth we must own: While the Republicans put their backwards ideas forward before an audience of more than 20 million Americans. We put our forward-thinking ideas on the backburner, and try to hide them from the airwaves.

Think about it. The Republicans stand before the nation, malign our president’s record of achievements, denigrate women and immigrant families, double-down on trickle-down, and tell their false story. We respond with crickets, tumbleweeds, and a cynical move to delay and limit our own party debates. Four debates and only four debates—we are told, not asked—before voters in our earliest states make their decision.

This is totally unprecedented in our party. This sort of rigged process has never been attempted before.

That invited an obvious question. And it was asked in various forms when O’Malley met with the press after he spoke.

Did the governor believe the debate schedule was “rigged” to favor Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton?

“Yes, I think so, don’t you?” responded O’Malley.

Pressed to clarify that he was, indeed, suggesting that the deck was being stacking in Clinton’s favor, O’Malley bluntly replied, “Yes.”

That’s certainly not the impression the DNC wants to give. In fact, Wasserman Schultz has gone out of her way to suggest that she is committed to treating all the candidates fairly. At Friday’s DNC session, for instance, she explained that the event was structured to assure all of the contenders would get a fair hearing.

Clinton was well-received. So, too, was Sanders, who has pulled ahead of Clinton in recent polls from the first primary state of New Hampshire. Both contenders earned cheers, repeated rounds of applause and ovations.

O’Malley gained substantial applause for his rousing call for more debates. Sanders backers, who packed open seats behind those of DNC members, jumped to their feet to cheer the former governor’s challenge to the party leaders. But not all the DNC members were cheering.

After O’Malley spoke, the DNC released a mild response to the governor’s speech. “We are thrilled the candidates are so eager to participate in our debates,” said spokeswoman Holly Shulman. ” e believe that six debates will give plenty of opportunity for the candidates to be seen side-by-side. I’m sure there will be lots of other forums for the candidates to make their case to voters, and that they will make the most out of every opportunity.”

O’Malley was not satisfied. And he was not backing down.

“This,” he said, “is not a good image for the party.”