The ABC debate in February may exclude half the GOP field

posted at 8:01 am on January 28, 2016 by Jazz Shaw

Let’s get ready to rumble… in a much smaller ring.

ABC News drew the honors for hosting the final GOP debate prior to the New Hampshire primary next month and they’ve released the format and entry qualifications. Get ready for a change. Unlike the crowded, two tier events we’ve seen up to now, ABC will make it a more exclusive club which may see as few as six people on the stage. (The Hill)

ABC News will not include an undercard contest during its Republican presidential debate in February, according to new criteria released from the network.

The decision threatens to cut the debate stage to as few as six candidates just three days before New Hampshire primary.

Candidates will have three avenues to make the debate stage. The top three finishers in the Iowa caucuses’ popular vote will punch a ticket to the stage, as well as any candidate polling within the top six in averages of recent New Hampshire or national polls. ABC News sources confirmed that there will not be an additional debate for those candidates who do not meet that criteria.

It seems like it was only this week when I was asking why Fox was expanding the field of debate participants this close to the Iowa caucuses by adding Gilmore to the undercard. Now ABC seems to be lurching a bit far in the other direction. Or are they? This thing has been dragging on since last summer and we’ve been reading poll numbers and picking apart every speech and hand gesture for so long that it feels like the race it too old to evolve much. But it’s times like this when I have to remind myself that not a single vote has been cast yet. When ABC News hosts this debate there will only have been a hundred thousand or so votes cast in one of the nation’s smallest states. (Electorally speaking, anyway.) Should we be lopping a bunch of people out of what may be their best chance at some exposure to a public which is just waking up to realize there’s an election taking place? Maxwell Tani at Business Insider points out that quite a few people could be left out in the cold

Polls could shift dramatically in the next week. But currently, such criteria would exclude Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania)…

Thursday’s Republican debate, hosted by Fox News, could serve as a final proving ground for a handful of Republican candidates attempting to break into — or stay in — the top tier. But some candidates have proven that being excluded from the main-stage debate doesn’t necessarily constitute a campaign death sentence.

I’m not sure how I feel about this decision yet. Part of me is already suffering from primary fatigue, but it still seems like they all deserve a shot until some delegate numbers start building up in serious volume. In any event, prepare for howls of protest from at least Rand Paul if he doesn’t make the cut.

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Comments

Three to five debates are plenty. We’ve already had six. Tonight’s is seven, ABC’s will be eight.

Magicjava on January 28, 2016 at 8:05 AM

Yay. Another debate. I’m hoping a few people drop out by then anyway. And I don’t just mean the candidates from the undercard debates.

Doughboy on January 28, 2016 at 8:06 AM

Yes, I know, no votes have been cast. I look forward to a smaller debate field.

cozmo on January 28, 2016 at 8:06 AM

If Trump sweeps Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada (looking more and more likely at this time) it’s over.

ConstantineXI on January 28, 2016 at 8:08 AM

Top 3 from Iowa and to heck with the rest.

Racistanyway on January 28, 2016 at 8:09 AM

Is Clinton hack Stephie going to moderate?

Will anybody point this out from the stage?

Valiant on January 28, 2016 at 8:10 AM

Top 3 from Iowa and to heck with the rest.

Racistanyway on January 28, 2016 at 8:09 AM

Yep. Anyone not in the top 3 in Iowa has absolutely no business being on any stage.

ConstantineXI on January 28, 2016 at 8:12 AM

Could we just have 5? The top 4 plus Rand Paul.

22044 on January 28, 2016 at 8:12 AM

With the Political blood spillage,
I do wonder, how many will actually
be standing, by then!!

Jus say’n!!

canopfor on January 28, 2016 at 8:13 AM

“When ABC News hosts this debate there will only have been a hundred thousand or so votes cast in one of the nation’s smallest states. (Electorally speaking, anyway.) Should we be lopping a bunch of people out of what may be their best chance at some exposure to a public which is just waking up to realize there’s an election taking place?” ~ Jazz

Note to Jazz: Shouldn’t you pose this question to Reince Priebus and the RNC? Or, does ABC News have total control over a Republican Debate Process?

Rovin on January 28, 2016 at 8:14 AM

Call me a conspiracy theorist but I see the GOPe’s fingerprints all over this decision.

After Trump evaded the trap they were setting for him in tonight’s debate with the Muslim woman and two others, they might have pushed ABC to revise the criteria.

NH and Florida are very important must-wins for the GOPe so look to them pulling out all the stops and playing every trick in the book to bring Trump down.

TheRightMan on January 28, 2016 at 8:14 AM

Could we just have 5? The top 4 plus Rand Paul.

22044 on January 28, 2016 at 8:12 AM

Rand Paul is going to be done before he even gets to this ridiculous Caucus he’s forcing us to have in Kentucky in March.

I also will not vote for his re-election in November because he’s violating the Kentucky Constitution by running for 2 offices at once.

ConstantineXI on January 28, 2016 at 8:15 AM

that quite a few people could be left out in the cold
======================================================


Major Garrett Verified account [email protected] 12m12 minutes ago

Updated #IowaCaucus night forecast “Chance of snow 90%, accumulating 1 to 3 inches. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph.” #turnout

https://twitter.com/hashtag/iowacaucus

canopfor on January 28, 2016 at 8:15 AM

This election could end up with Donald Trump vs. Bernie Sanders – Capitalist vs. Socialist.

That might elicit a worthwhile national discussion and debate.

justltl on January 28, 2016 at 8:20 AM

Good. Hopefully there won’t even be 6 candidates by that point.

Zaggs on January 28, 2016 at 8:21 AM

GILMORE

Because Peewee Herman was unavailable

Younggod on January 28, 2016 at 8:24 AM

Speaking of DeBates:
——————–

From Canops Communication Control ReSource Centre:
————————————————–

LIVE Stream: Donald Trump Special Event for Veterans in Des Moines, IA (1-28-15)
Right Side Broadcasting
Right Side Broadcasting

Scheduled for Jan 28, 2016
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Thursday, January 28, 2016: LIVE Stream of Donald Trump’s Special Event for Wounded Warriors & Veterans at Drake University in Des Moines, IA. The event is scheduled to begin at 7:00 PM CST.
==============

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PMynb62GRk

https://www.youtube.com/user/rightsideradio

canopfor on January 28, 2016 at 2:25 AM

canopfor on January 28, 2016 at 8:24 AM

No more debates, please…

mjbrooks3 on January 28, 2016 at 8:25 AM

Dems are clamoring for another 2-3 debates as well

cmsinaz on January 28, 2016 at 8:27 AM

Top 3 from Iowa and to heck with the rest.

Racistanyway on January 28, 2016 at 8:09 AM

Yep. Anyone not in the top 3 in Iowa has absolutely no business being on any stage.

ConstantineXI on January 28, 2016 at 8:12 AM

Thou shalt count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shall thou not count, noither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out!

sorry, couldn’t resist….

Rogue on January 28, 2016 at 8:29 AM

Paul needs to focus on his Senate seat. Losing the Huckster and Santorum isn’t losing anything at all.

rbj on January 28, 2016 at 8:29 AM

Rick Santorum polling in the low single digits in Iowa in 2012 then ending up winning the thing has kept a lot of these candidates hanging around. After Iowa and New Hampshire results are in, four candidates, maximum, should remain. To still have 12-13 people claim they are running for the GOP nomination at this point is laughable.

HornHiAceDeuce on January 28, 2016 at 8:29 AM

sorry, couldn’t resist….

Rogue on January 28, 2016 at 8:29 AM

It’s just a rabbit!!!

ConstantineXI on January 28, 2016 at 8:31 AM

It’s just a rabbit!!!

ConstantineXI on January 28, 2016 at 8:31 AM

Look at the boooones!

Rogue on January 28, 2016 at 8:34 AM

Our side huffs and puffs over everyone getting a trophy these days. “The field” can’t win the Whitehouse. The “also rans” need to get out now so the real election can begin.

We haven’t had a real debate yet, we have had contestants in a few beauty contests. They’ve done the strutting and the talent show, we need to debate actual issues.

I wish they’d taken Bush out before his numbers started to rise. The last thing this country needs is another Bush or Clinton.

petunia on January 28, 2016 at 8:38 AM

six is fine. in fact, it’s generous.

Sachiko on January 28, 2016 at 8:38 AM

Jazz, a little OT but could we have a post on this?

Bombshell from Breitbart:

Trump Campaign Manager Reveals Fox News Debate Chief Has Daughter Working for Rubio

Lewandowski revealed two things for the first time: that the executive he was discussing matters with was Bill Sammon, and that Sammon’s daughter Brooke Sammon works for Rubio’s campaign, giving the first-term Floridian Senator an obvious boost. That blatant conflict of interest has never before been disclosed to the viewers of Fox News by the network.

“Not only did I not make threats, but the conversation with the Fox News executive—his daughter works for the Rubio campaign, he’s one of the executives on Fox that writes the debate questions so maybe he has his own ulterior motives, I’m not sure,” Lewandowski told Burnett in the Wednesday evening CNN interview. He went on:

But his daughter is a senior executive on the Rubio campaign, maybe he should disclose that before he’s writing the debate questions for Fox. There were no threats made. The bottom line is this isn’t about me and it’s not about Megyn Kelly. It’s about the way that Fox News put out a statement about Mr. Trump that’s wholly inaccurate and unfair and it’s very difficult to treat someone fairly when they’re the GOP frontrunner when you put out a statement like that.

When Burnett followed up, Lewandowski doubled down. “What I said was the Fox News executive who oversees the debate process, their daughter is a senior executive on the Marco Rubio campaign—is what I said,” the Trump campaign manager said.

Might this explain why Rubio always appears to be spouting well-rehearsed answers to the debate questions? Could it be he is being fed the questions beforehand?

Hmmm… this is worse than a conflict of interest scenario.

TheRightMan on January 28, 2016 at 8:40 AM

Is Clinton hack Stephie going to moderate?

Will anybody point this out from the stage?

Valiant on January 28, 2016 at 8:10 AM

…nobody should be on that stage should be there…to point that out…if the RNC had ANY ba11s!

JugEarsButtHurt on January 28, 2016 at 8:40 AM

I wish they’d taken Bush out before his numbers started to rise. The last thing this country needs is another Bush or Clinton.

petunia on January 28, 2016 at 8:38 AM

¡Jeb!’s numbers aren’t rising to anything meaningful. He’s just spending lots and lots and lots more money and can’t get close enough to Trump or Cruz to spot them with the Hubble Telescope!

Worse, any rise by ¡Jeb! just reinforces his determination to NOT get off the stage.

ConstantineXI on January 28, 2016 at 8:41 AM

Might this explain why Rubio always appears to be spouting well-rehearsed answers to the debate questions? Could it be he is being fed the questions beforehand?

Hmmm… this is worse than a conflict of interest scenario.

TheRightMan on January 28, 2016 at 8:40 AM

Certainly explains why Rubio never gets asked about the “Gang of Amnesty” on ¡Fox! doesn’t it?

ConstantineXI on January 28, 2016 at 8:44 AM

Call me a conspiracy theorist but I see the GOPe’s fingerprints all over this decision.

***

TheRightMan on January 28, 2016 at 8:14 AM

I agree. GOPe has to get some mo going before it’s too late. They may get a breather if Trump doesn’t do so well in IA. But if does well in IA and again in NH, he probably blows the doors off GOPe in SC and it might be impossible to stop him.

BuckeyeSam on January 28, 2016 at 8:46 AM

Dems are clamoring for another 2-3 debates as well

cmsinaz on January 28, 2016 at 8:27 AM

Is that true? I can see the Sanders camp wanting it, but not the Clinton camp and not the DNC. Indeed, although Sanders may not give the Rocky response in this clip, Clinton certainly wants no more rematches. Like so many other Liberals say when many more questions need to be asked, “The debate is over!”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNJqZI3hOdg

BuckeyeSam on January 28, 2016 at 8:55 AM

The 2 or 3 early primaries are usually not about picking winners. They’re about picking losers. You can’t win the nomination in those early states but you can lose it.

Of course, this year is different and 6 on stage may be 4 if not 5 too many.

MJBrutus on January 28, 2016 at 8:55 AM

When ABC News hosts this debate there will only have been a hundred thousand or so votes cast in one of the nation’s smallest states. (Electorally speaking, anyway.)

This is Problem #1. All debates should be over before any vote is cast, even from a small state. Which leads directly to…

Should we be lopping a bunch of people out of what may be their best chance at some exposure to a public which is just waking up to realize there’s an election taking place?

Problem #2, in which we have a populace that either wants a bigger say in a smaller government, or a smaller say in a bigger government. It seems the way the game is currently being played, the advantage is given to the latter.

I don’t know what the solution is anymore.

leftamark on January 28, 2016 at 9:09 AM

The ABC debate in February may exclude half the GOP field

So Trump will have the state all to himself, without Cruz to debate him?

Rix on January 28, 2016 at 9:14 AM

The ABC debate in February may exclude half the GOP field

So Trump will have the state stage all to himself, without Cruz to debate him?

Rix on January 28, 2016 at 9:14 AM

fixed

Rix on January 28, 2016 at 9:14 AM

The 2 or 3 early primaries are usually not about picking winners. They’re about picking losers. You can’t win the nomination in those early states but you can lose it.

MJBrutus on January 28, 2016 at 8:55 AM

Sorry, I have to disagree. IA and NH are all about building momentum. It’s why so much attention is paid to them, why there is a week or so in between IA, NH, and SC. There will be a clear “winner” after SC, the general public, i.e. the other 47 states will want to vote for the “winner”, and voila, we have our nominee.

leftamark on January 28, 2016 at 9:19 AM

leftamark on January 28, 2016 at 9:19 AM

Certainly not IA. Who has been helped by winning there? And IA rarely goes for the same candidate as NH. Perhaps winning both would give momentum but I would submit that the candidate who does that was probably out of reach nationally before any votes were cast. I think tRump is in that unusual position this year.

MJBrutus on January 28, 2016 at 9:25 AM

I guess we can count Trump out. According to him, he’s all done debatin’.

WisRich on January 28, 2016 at 9:47 AM

Certainly not IA. Who has been helped by winning there? And IA rarely goes for the same candidate as NH. Perhaps winning both would give momentum but I would submit that the candidate who does that was probably out of reach nationally before any votes were cast. I think tRump is in that unusual position this year.

MJBrutus on January 28, 2016 at 9:25 AM

I’ve always seen Iowa as the first real test, sort of like a scrimmage in a sport. IA gives candidates an idea of the efficacy of their ground games and GOTV for later primaries, like the “SEC Primaries”.

mrteachersir on January 28, 2016 at 9:48 AM

All of the candidates should have refused to show up for the faux debate. When one candidate is being screwed by the mods. and one candidate is being set up for an ambush by a far left muslim Bernie Sanders and BLM plant, and another plant is an illegal alien, all candidates should be incensed that such crap is taking place. It cheapens the whole process and all voters, no matter which candidate they support should also be pissed and demand that faux never has the opportunity to ever host another Republican primary or Gen. election debate.

Trump should refuse to show up for any more debates until the RNC tells faux and all other networks that they will not put up with this crap. Mods. for the debate should have no connection with the network or with any campaign in any manner(family members, relatives, etc.).

Trump should sue the faux network for fraud.

they lie on January 28, 2016 at 10:01 AM

They should just have The Don debating his evil twin, Skippy.

vnvet on January 28, 2016 at 10:02 AM

How many more of these debates are there, anyway? Seems like they never end.

Buckshot Bill on January 28, 2016 at 10:10 AM

we need to debate actual issues.
petunia on January 28, 2016 at 8:38 AM

There is one issue. The left is winning and must be stopped.

At this point there is only one person who has a chance of beating them.

gh on January 28, 2016 at 10:12 AM

Sure, it will exclude half the field, but how much do you want to bet that Jeb Bush will still be in there even if he’s a solid 7th in Iowa and taking single-digits in any respectable poll? Same for Kasich.

At this point there are only three people with a non-zero chance of being President, but I’ll even be fair enough to add in Carson since he still has a semi-respectable early state organization, and Rand Paul for a fifth because he occasionally has some ideas (not always the right ideas, but at least he has something to say). Trump, Rubio, Cruz, and maybe Carson and Paul. The rest can bug off. Should have gone home months ago.

Gingotts on January 28, 2016 at 10:39 AM

¡Jeb!’s numbers aren’t rising to anything meaningful. He’s just spending lots and lots and lots more money and can’t get close enough to Trump or Cruz to spot them with the Hubble Telescope!

Worse, any rise by ¡Jeb! just reinforces his determination to NOT get off the stage.

ConstantineXI on January 28, 2016 at 8:41 AM

Yep. Look at any polling organization that has him above 5%. Nobodies spouting bought and paid for crap. The exception to the rule is ARG who like to puke out how great Kasich is instead. Of the two I bet NH indies break for Kasich over Jeb, but it’s a moot point since they’re mostly feeling the Bern instead.

Gingotts on January 28, 2016 at 10:42 AM

ABC will make it a more exclusive club which may see as few as six people on the stage.

I’m with the folks who say it’s good to limit the number on stage. It splits the time between too many people. Also, if you are only polling at 5% by February, after all the debates we’ve already had, more debates aren’t going to help you any.

I’d be good with more debates with the top four or so IF we could trust the setup. There have been too many shenanigans going on.

RockyMtnGirl on January 28, 2016 at 11:25 AM

Honestly, who cares?

HiJack on January 28, 2016 at 11:33 AM

But currently, such criteria would exclude Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania)

Not much of a loss at this point, none of them stand a snowball’s chance in hell of taking the nomination.

jnelchef on January 28, 2016 at 12:06 PM

Rand Paul doesn’t deserve to be on the stage.

rexbatt on January 28, 2016 at 12:25 PM

Every contender should be at the debate.

cimbri on January 28, 2016 at 3:28 PM

Trump should refuse to participate unless everyone gets to participate. All for one, and one for all.

cimbri on January 28, 2016 at 3:30 PM

Call me a conspiracy theorist but I see the GOPe’s fingerprints all over this decision.

After Trump evaded the trap they were setting for him in tonight’s debate with the Muslim woman and two others, they might have pushed ABC to revise the criteria.

NH and Florida are very important must-wins for the GOPe so look to them pulling out all the stops and playing every trick in the book to bring Trump down.

TheRightMan on January 28, 2016 at 8:14 AM

“Bring Trump down”?? They’re in his corner!! Wake up and smell the coffee, man.

Bob Davis on January 28, 2016 at 4:08 PM

Personally I wish they had mixed it up a bit. Drawn straws or something to see who debated who.

Sackett on January 28, 2016 at 8:01 PM

If they are running they should debate! All of them! That would be wild wouldn’t it!

k2comp on January 29, 2016 at 10:14 AM