The GOP debate solution: Fox News proposes a rough cut, CNN sets up a children's table

Fox News, CNN and the Republican National Committee on Wednesday figured out how to pack 19 or so presidential candidates onto a single TV stage for a debate.

You don’t.

For Fox, which will air the first debate in Cleveland on Aug. 6, the answer is to limit the debate field to 10 candidates, then promise air time and coverage elsewhere to those who are slighted. (Fox's criteria could allow more than 10 participants if some are tied in the polls.)

One grouping will feature the top 10 candidates according to public polling, and the other will include candidates who meet the minimum threshold of 1 percent in public polling but are ranked outside the top 10…

"We support and respect the decision CNN has made," Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, said about the debate's format.

Priebus used very similar words of approval for Fox News. In each case, the RNC chairman put the onus of the decision on the cable news network. It would be unseemly for him – or his party – to tick off half the GOP presidential field.

The two cable news networks are using similar criteria, CNN’s is more detailed. Scroll through it here:


The GOP presidential campaign of Mike Huckabee announced Wednesday that he wouldn’t be participating in the Iowa straw poll conducted the first week in August. We’re presuming that means he’ll be headed for the Aug. 7-8 gathering of, being put together by WSB Radio provocateur Erick Erickson.


Your juicy -- but not meaty -- 2016 tidbit of the day comes from the Huffington Post:

Republican primary politics is often about giving "red meat" to conservative voters, but that is something Dr. Ben Carson will not do.

Carson, the only openly vegetarian candidate in the 2016 pool, has avoided meat for decades. He told the Vegetarian Times in 1990 that his religion and health concerns inspired his diet. Politico confirmed with Carson's campaign that the candidate remains mostly meatless, noting Carson's lifestyle would put him at odds with the meat industry in Iowa, an important primary election state.

The meat industry in Iowa and nationwide has been aggressively lobbying against proposed federal dietary guidelines that would encourage people to eat more vegetables and less red and processed meat.

We've probably evolved as a society enough for this to be a non-issue, but it remains difficult to imagine a vegan president.


Georgia politicians are still getting used to a rewrite in ethics rules that passed in 2013. Now the state's judges are gearing up for similar changes.

The state Code of Judicial Conduct, the ethics standards that jurists are supposed to follow, was revised for the first time in more than 20 years and released this week.

The Daily Report says those changes include new limits for lawyers who routinely moonlight as judges; requirements for judges to disclose more of their extra-judicial activities and gifts; more reporting demands for judges suspected of drug abuse, mental health issues or dementia; and a new rule that will virtually ban judges seeking another non-judicial elected office to remain on the bench. You can read the rest of the changes here.


Earlier this morning, we told you that Gov. Nathan Deal had backtracked on his demand that any "religious liberty" legislation the General Assembly took up should include an anti-discrimination clause. But we also asked him about Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's decision to issue an executive order to enforce "religious liberty" legislation that failed to pass in a divided, but GOP-controlled legislature.

Don't expect Deal to follow suit.

"I think that's the prerogative of the legislative body," the Georgia governor said. "And we'll leave that up to the Legislature."


Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, recently joined the House Republican leadership whip team -- an early coup for the freshman. We caught up with him Wednesday, and he said so far it's made him and his staff feel more plugged in:

"It really gives you an opportunity to get information that otherwise I wouldn’t get. And I feel more involved now than I did before I became a member of that team. Because, obviously, we have weekly meetings that we go over everything. ...

"You do learn just what’s going on and, as you say, which votes are close and which ones they’re really concentrating on and which ones that leadership is trying to push across the finish line."

The other Georgian on the whip team is Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Coweta County, who explained to National Journal how leadership has things moving smoother than at the start of the year -- with controversial bills on abortion and the PATRIOT Act able to unite Republicans' various factions.

"We've been able to put together some bills that can get 218 votes. That's been the important thing is seeing leadership work with different groups in trying to do that," Westmoreland said. "That's what we've been lacking. It's been, 'Here's the bill.' And now they've been trying to work between the different groups."


Who knew that state Sen. David Lucas, D-Macon, had a set of pipes? Click here to listen to the Soul Man of the General Assembly, courtesy of 13MAZ.


Clearly, Southern Baptists in Georgia and elsewhere are up in arms over the U.S. Supreme Court's pending decision on gay marriage. But that's not the only cultural shift that America's largest Protestant denomination is facing. From Charisma News:

After decade-long resistance, the Southern Baptist Convention will admit missionary candidates who speak in tongues, a practice associated with Pentecostal and charismatic churches....

Allowing Southern Baptist missionaries to speak in tongues, or have what some SBC leaders call a "private prayer language," speaks to the growing strength of Pentecostal churches in Africa, Asia and South America, where Southern Baptists are competing for converts and where energized new Christians are enthusiastically embracing the practice.

Which allows us to use one of the happiest-sounding words in English language: Glossolalia.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.