CNN Improves Debate Rules; Fiorina the Big Winner

 

When facing a 17-person GOP field, cable networks had a debate dilemma: limit the number of participants or install bleachers. They chose the former, but their process is deeply flawed. Serious candidates like Perry and Jindal are shouting to an empty auditorium while vanity projects like Huckabee use the debate to hawk his book. (Buy Giblets, Gullets & Grifters, available now at your local Bass Pro Shop!)

In theory, if someone did well in the first B-list debate, they would advance to the main stage the next time around. Carly Fiorina was the obvious standout of the Fox News forum, so most observers assumed she would appear at the adults’ table for CNN’s round two. Not so fast…

CNN based its top ten on the average ranking in “approved national polls” between July 16 and September 10. However, following the first debate on August 6, just three new polls have been released. This strongly skewed the decision to the status quo, leaving the ascendant Fiorina on the sidelines once again.

Hearing the hue and cry of conservative activists, the RNC, and even other candidates, CNN wisely changed their formula:

CNN is amending the criteria for its Republican presidential debate on September 16, possibly opening the door for Carly Fiorina to join the other top-tier candidates on the stage.

The cause: a lack of national public polling following the August 6 debate has so far provided only three new polls to determine the lineup for the Reagan Presidential Debate, according to a CNN statement.

As a result, CNN reevaluated its criteria and decided to add a provision that better reflects the state of the race since the first Republican presidential debate in August, the network announced Tuesday.

Now, any candidate who ranks in the top 10 in polling between August 7 and September 10 will be included.

The adjustment may result in additional candidates joining the top-tier debate, but the final podium placements will not be known until the eligibility window closes on September 10.

CNN can’t say that Fiorina’s in for sure since two new polls are expected before the deadline. But if the eligibility window closed today, the line-up would include the former Hewlett-Packard CEO. Her Twitter-happy deputy campaign manager celebrated the move:

CNN offered no speculation on whose place Fiorina will be taking. I’m hoping to see all 11 candidates show up and Reince Priebus walk over to, say, Chris Christie, and extinguish his torch. Or, since the front-runner is a reality show host, perhaps Trump can shout “you’re fired” at Rand while handing a rose to Carly.

UPDATE: Alert commenter Rico notes that, despite CNN’s confusing commentary about limiting the debate to the top ten, they will not be booting anyone from the stage. Expect 11 candidates and no reality show moment.

There are 42 comments.

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  1. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Isn’t trump demanding that some CNN muckity much donate 10 mil to charity to get him to show up?

    • #1
  2. rico Inactive
    rico
    @rico

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:CNN offered no speculation on whose place Fiorina will be taking. I’m hoping to see all 11 candidates show up and Reince Priebus walk over to, say, Chris Christie, and extinguish his torch. Or, since the front-runner is a reality show host, perhaps Trump can shout “you’re fired” at Rand while handing a rose to Carly.

    Alas, we will be deprived of such delicious drama. Any beneficiaries of the change would be added to the number of contestants.

    • #2
  3. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    I didn’t write the RNC or CNN, but thanks to all those who did.

    • #3
  4. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    rico:

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:CNN offered no speculation on whose place Fiorina will be taking. I’m hoping to see all 11 candidates show up and Reince Priebus walk over to, say, Chris Christie, and extinguish his torch. Or, since the front-runner is a reality show host, perhaps Trump can shout “you’re fired” at Rand while handing a rose to Carly.

    Alas, we will be deprived of such delicious drama. Any beneficiaries of the change would be added to the number of contestants.

    I read that press release repeatedly to figure out if one candidate was being booted, or 11 would be on the stage. My initial understanding was that 11 would appear, but CNN keeps mentioning the “top 10.” It’s too bad we won’t have one person unceremoniously booted. (I’m kind of mean.)

    • #4
  5. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Are Perry and Jindal really “serious” candidates? On paper one might say that, but then again on paper so is Whats Hisface from New York and Whose Hisname from Virginia.

    • #5
  6. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Brent, I wrote CNN. I remain unconvinced that anyone at the RNC can read.

    • #6
  7. Mark Wilson Member
    Mark Wilson
    @MarkWilson

    Guruforhire:Isn’t trump demanding that some CNN muckity much donate 10 mil to charity to get him to show up?

    Let’s hope the guy’s tight-fisted.

    • #7
  8. rico Inactive
    rico
    @rico

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    rico:

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:CNN offered no speculation on whose place Fiorina will be taking. I’m hoping to see all 11 candidates show up and Reince Priebus walk over to, say, Chris Christie, and extinguish his torch. Or, since the front-runner is a reality show host, perhaps Trump can shout “you’re fired” at Rand while handing a rose to Carly.

    Alas, we will be deprived of such delicious drama. Any beneficiaries of the change would be added to the number of contestants.

    I read that press release repeatedly to figure out if one candidate was being booted, or 11 would be on the stage. My initial understanding was that 11 would appear, but CNN keeps mentioning the “top 10.” It’s too bad we won’t have one person unceremoniously booted. (I’m kind of mean.)

    If that’s the case then Huckabee vs. Christie on the chin-up bar (televised) should determine the final spot.

    • #8
  9. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    The involuntary sound a person make when being yanked offstage by a massive cane sounds like,”Pataki”

    • #9
  10. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Percival:Brent, I wrote CNN. I remain unconvinced that anyone at the RNC can read.

    Yes, seriously.

    Wasn’t the RNC going to exercise control over the Primary debates? Looks like the same old crap where they go hat in hand to TV networks, who put up their hack anchors to ask gotcha questions.

    A key indicator of whether the eventual Republican nominee is really serious about winning is whether he or she lets the media set the terms of the presidential debates (although, the system we have now is much superior to the one where the “neutral” League of Women Voters ran the show).

    • #10
  11. katievs Member
    katievs
    @katievs

    This is good news. I think she’s a contender.

    • #11
  12. Pencilvania Inactive
    Pencilvania
    @Pencilvania

    Just yesterday on the local talk radio station I heard Jake Tapper perspiring profusely while trying to explain how CNN’s criteria was announced waaaay before anyone knew Carly would be advancing so quickly after the first debate, and how it would be so grossly unfair to the other candidates to change the rules now . . . he really reeked of desperation, they knew women were ramping up a huge stinkeye for CNN.

    Boy it’s sweet when the War on Women makes a sneak attack on its own troops like that.

    • #12
  13. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Jon,

    Great news! This ups the quality of the debate. The really important thing to notice right now is Carson’s results. He had no name recognition at the beginning. People were listening to the debate not just reacting to Trump’s reality show presence. This means that it’s still possible and depends on performance. The people will be the judge.

    Of course, it’s still a long way till Damascus.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #13
  14. Eeyore Member
    Eeyore
    @Eeyore

    DocJay:The involuntary sound a person make when being yanked offstage by a massive cane sounds like,”Pataki”

    Looking at a Sept. 1 Loras College [Huh?] Poll reported by Real Clear Politics, that sound may well be joined by a giant *THUD* as Chris Christie falls off the stage.

    • #14
  15. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    And Fiorina doesn’t take “gotcha” questions-she throws them right back.  I can hardly wait for this one.

    • #15
  16. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Guruforhire:Isn’t trump demanding that some CNN muckity much donate 10 mil to charity to get him to show up?

    He specifically wanted Jeff Zucker to pay a charity of Trump’s choosing $10m to bless the proceedings with his presence.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRR_cvqD88k

    Spy Magazine’s description of Trump as a “short-fingered vulgarian” is insufficient.  It should be “short-fingered vulgarian blowhard.

    I’m really glad that Carly is going to be there.

    • #16
  17. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Simple solution: Base who gets into the debate on Approval minus Disapproval ratings. One of the perks of this method is that Trump is relegated to where he belongs.

    • #17
  18. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    What happened to CNNs rationale that they couldn’t change the criteria because of Federal Election Commission rules? Did the rules change? That entire line of argument seems to have vanished.

    • #18
  19. Eeyore Member
    Eeyore
    @Eeyore

    She:What happened to CNNs rationale that they couldn’t change the criteria because of Federal Election Commission rules?Did the rules change?That entire line of argument seems to have vanished.

    I don’t remember that being within their criteria Here is a CNN excerpt on why they are changing the rules, saying the old rules were because, essentially, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” Here is a link to their new criteria, and the only FEC-related requirement is the candidate having to have filed with the FEC by August 26.

    Update: Seems you were right. From an earlier CNN statement:

    “It will encompass polling data from three weeks prior to the first debate and five weeks following. Federal Election Commission guidelines make it clear that these criteria cannot be changed after they have been published. We believe that our approach is a fair and effective way to deal with the highest number of candidates we have ever encountered.”

    Maybe “vanished” is the appropriate word.

    • #19
  20. rico Inactive
    rico
    @rico

    She:What happened to CNNs rationale that they couldn’t change the criteria because of Federal Election Commission rules?Did the rules change?That entire line of argument seems to have vanished.

    The opinion of a former FEC chairman might have something to do with it. See this post for a link.

    • #20
  21. Cat III Member
    Cat III
    @CatIII

    The GOP gets to play identity politics. Boy, do I look forward to this election season. Let’s play up the “War on Women” angle, because not including a woman in a debate is like waging warfare against the fairer sex. The two are exactly alike.

    • #21
  22. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Don’t understand Fiorina’s appeal. Trump is right that she was ineffective at Hewlett-Packard. The Compaq merger was a bad idea and she strong armed some banks into backing it, with threat of withholding other business from them. Doesn’t seem like she has a lot to show for, beyond the carefully crafted sound bites. Read this for more: http://fortune.com/2015/08/14/carly-fiorina-president-2/

    • #22
  23. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    “Since the front-runner is a reality show host, perhaps Trump can shout “you’re fired” at Rand while handing a rose to Carly.”

    I did think that Trump should fire one candidate at the end of each debate. And in the grand finale, the last candidate fires Trump and gets the nomination.

    • #23
  24. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    rico:

    She:What happened to CNNs rationale that they couldn’t change the criteria because of Federal Election Commission rules?Did the rules change?That entire line of argument seems to have vanished.

    The opinion of a former FEC chairman might have something to do with it. See this post for a link.

    Thanks. I did not know that, prior to the Fox debate, Fox had ‘changed the rules,’ albeit in a small way. The resolution to this issue is filled with such common sense that it makes me wonder what the real motive is.   Common sense  rarely wins on its own behalf these days.

    • #24
  25. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    ExJon, you are inferring a clause to the effect that “…and all others will be excluded .” Apparently they mean ” X will be included” in an additive sense, not comprehensive.

    • #25
  26. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Marion Evans:Don’t understand Fiorina’s appeal. Trump is right that she was ineffective at Hewlett-Packard. The Compaq merger was a bad idea and she strong armed some banks into backing it, with threat of withholding other business from them. Doesn’t seem like she has a lot to show for, beyond the carefully crafted sound bites. Read this for more: http://fortune.com/2015/08/14/carly-fiorina-president-2/

    No matter what anyone thinks of Fiorina’s HP tenure, describing it as ‘ineffective’ is a bit of a stretch. It seems to me she was extraordinarily effective, with consequences to her actions that are still being felt today

    Some people just don’t like what she did, or the way she did it, is all.

    There’s a great deal of data to be found on both sides of this debate, information which has accumulated over the years and is readily available.

    Since they fired her, I’m not sure what Fiorina would have to ‘show’ for her time at HP.

    HP is still in business, though, and many technology companies, both large and small, of that era are not, and I think that is the point of many of her ‘carefully crafted sound bites.’

    • #26
  27. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    Marion Evans:Don’t understand Fiorina’s appeal. Trump is right that she was ineffective at Hewlett-Packard. The Compaq merger was a bad idea and she strong armed some banks into backing it, with threat of withholding other business from them. Doesn’t seem like she has a lot to show for, beyond the carefully crafted sound bites. Read this for more: http://fortune.com/2015/08/14/carly-fiorina-president-2/

    Carly had a tenure much like the Bush 43 presidency: big hits and big misses. The Compaq merger was a fine idea in a consolidating industry. Enterprise is still doing well for HP.

    Carly’s big miss was not closing the PwC merger. She could’ve gotten a great price as the market tanked, but held off. That move would’ve put a big crimp in IBM’s services reinvention.

    • #27
  28. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    Percival:

    Guruforhire:Isn’t trump demanding that some CNN muckity much donate 10 mil to charity to get him to show up?

    He specifically wanted Jeff Zucker to pay a charity of Trump’s choosing $10m to bless the proceedings with his presence.

    Spy Magazine’s description of Trump as a “short-fingered vulgarian” is insufficient. It should be “short-fingered vulgarian blowhard.

    I’m really glad that Carly is going to be there.

    I can easily imagine Carly as president, giving a state of the union speech, and me being very proud of my country. Not in the Michelle Obama “first time in my adult life” sense because we elected a woman, but because we elected someone we could be proud of.

    I can’t say the same of all the candidates.

    • #28
  29. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    “[S]he strong armed some banks into backing it, with threat of withholding other business from them.”

    Oh, for goodness sake, this is what CEOs do.  Business ain’t tiddlywinks.  Trust me, I work for a corporate and investment bank.

    Her experience as a CEO and her vision for the country now are far more important than whether she was a perfect CEO.  There is no such thing, anyway.  And, to use what is now a well-worn cliche, our current president apparently hadn’t even run a lemonade stand prior to his ascendance.  Seriously, someone should ask him whether he did, and I’d bet you lemons to ice cubes the answer is no.  Though I suppose he might have supplied the Choom Gang with product.

    I haven’t yet heard anything from Fiorina that would disqualify her in my mind.  At this point, I would be happy to see her as the candidate for the top spot.  I suspect that she will be a frontrunner for the VP spot if she does not get the nom, particularly if Hillary Rodham’s candidacy does not blow up.  In that case, identity politics would dictate that there be a woman somewhere on the Republican ticket.

    • #29
  30. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    She:

    No matter what anyone thinks of Fiorina’s HP tenure, describing it as ‘ineffective’ is a bit of a stretch. It seems to me she was extraordinarily effective, with consequences to her actions that are still being felt today

    Some people just don’t like what she did, or the way she did it, is all.

    There’s a great deal of data to be found on both sides of this debate, information which has accumulated over the years and is readily available.

    Since they fired her, I’m not sure what Fiorina would have to ‘show’ for her time at HP.

    HP is still in business, though, and many technology companies, both large and small, of that era are not, and I think that is the point of many of her ‘carefully crafted sound bites.’

    What is your definition of effective? HP stock halved during her tenure, while the S&P 500 fell 15%, the Nasdaq fell 20%, and HP’s closest comp Dell rose 9%. Yes, she was ‘extraordinarily effective’ at implementing a strategy which was flawed.

    Which comp of HP is no longer in business? Dell is still in business. So are IBM, Lenovo, Canon, Sony, Acer…

    • #30

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