NEW YORK (CBSNEWS.COM) – Democratic presidential candidates hoping to participate in the party’s official third and fourth round of debates in September and October will need to meet higher polling and fundraising thresholds, party leaders announced Wednesday.

(credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

The new criteria is likely to significantly thin out the record-size field of contenders by Thanksgiving by forcing out of the race the lesser-known contenders unable to reach the debate and its national television audience.

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