In Charleston, S.C., 2012 Republican presidential candidates (left to right) Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul stand for the national anthem before the start of a CNN debate. Brant Sanderlin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Possibly, you saw Reince Priebus on TV this morning, pushing this line, as described by the Associated Press:
The Republican National Committee charged Monday that NBC and CNN are promoting a potential presidential candidacy by Hillary Rodham Clinton, threatening to blackball them from future Republican primary debates if they air upcoming programs on the former secretary of state.
RNC chairman Reince Priebus called a planned NBC miniseries on Clinton and a CNN documentary on the first lady an "extended commercial" for a future Clinton presidential campaign. In separate letters to the networks, he urged them to cancel "this political ad masquerading as an unbiased production."
But this afternoon, in a candid but underexposed interview with the Washington Post’s “In Play” video arm, Priebus suggested his effort isn’t really aimed at CNN or NBC. The true target of the blackball threat is the 2016 field of GOP presidential candidates. It's no secret that Priebus and many others believe that the plethora of GOP primary debates didn't go down well with the voting public.
“Part of the problem is, if you’ve got 10 people running and eight out of 10 raise their hand for any two-hour debate, voila! You’ve got a debate.
“That’s why what I’ve been talking about doing is actually tying the nomination for president, which -- the RNC controls the nomination process completely. We would tie the nomination for president to adherence to a debate calendar that we ultimately set.
“So if you have candidates that decide, ‘You know, I think I’m going to do my own thing. I’m going to do three CNN debates. I’m going to do three of these NBC debates. The heck with the RNC.’ Well, guess what? If your nomination is actually tied to the debate calendar, and the primary calendar itself, and those penalties are strong enough – believe me, you’ll keep the candidates in the box.”
Further, if you make a network or two a pariah, then the penalties for wayward GOP candidates create themselves -- and you still get your wish for fewer debates.
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