Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, a GOP presidential candidate, is crediting Breitbart News and its readers for being the key difference maker in getting her into the next presidential debate as the Republican National Committee (RNC) and CNN have cracked as CNN just changed its debate criteria.
“Thank you Breitbart readers for getting the message out and keeping the pressure on,” Fiorina told Breitbart News on Tuesday afternoon in response to the news.
The Washington Times’ Ralph Hallow first reported on Tuesday afternoon that the move was going to take place.
“CNN has scheduled a phone call at 5 p.m. EDT on Tuesday with the GOP presidential campaigns to discuss changes to the criteria determining which candidates will get to appear on main stage at the next debate later this month,” the Washington Times’ Ralph Hallow wrote about a call that is ongoing during which CNN will unveil the changes.
Several sources in positions of knowledge on this matter on all sides have confirmed to Breitbart News that such changes are being made, and will be announced on the call. “The call is the outgrowth of negotiations between CNN and the Republican National Committee, which sanctions the party’s debates, to address concerns raised by the GOP’s only female candidate, Carly Fiorina, that the original criteria wrongly has kept her form the stage even as she is rising in the polls,” Hallow wrote of the call.
Fiorina will almost certainly be on the debate stage now.
If she doesn’t make it into the top 10 under the previous criteria, since she’s clearly in the top 10 since the previous debate—and this goes for anyone else too—they will add an extra spot on the stage. That means if Fiorina doesn’t hit the top 10 under the previous criteria which includes polls from prior to the last debate, she’s already in the top 10 quite clearly in the polls since the last debate so they will add an eleventh spot on stage for her. If she does make the top 10 under the previous criteria, however, one sad soul from the previous top 10 will lose his place on stage as per normal.
“In the event that any candidate is polling in the top 10 in an average of approved national polls released between August 7th and September 10th, we will add those candidates to our top tier debate, even if those candidates did not poll in the top 10 in an average of approved national polls between July 16th and September 10th,” CNN said in a statement. “We have discussed these changes with the Republican National Committee and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, and they are fully supportive.”
“Carly earned her place at the main debate stage,” Fiorina’s deputy campaign manager Sarah Isgur Flores said over Tweets. “We’re so grateful to the thousands of grassroots supporters and conservative activists around the country who weren’t afraid to take on the political establishment and challenge the status quo to make this happen. We look forward to watching Carly debate the other front runners at the Reagan Library.”
Fiorina, who was the clear winner of the undercard debate in Cleveland last month, was in jeopardy of being kept off the main debate stage yet again despite a clear jump in the polls into not just the top 10 of candidates but in many cases the top 5 due to criteria put forward by CNN earlier this year that would have used polling from before the last debate. The RNC, which didn’t have much of a legal say in the matter since CNN sets the criteria after its given the debate, has remained largely quiet publicly amid a storm of grassroots activity in response to Fiorina’s campaign staff and the Super PAC supporting her, CARLY For America, blowing the whistle.
Back on August 26, Breitbart News first broke the story that the criteria put forth by the elders at CNN might exclude Fiorina because of old polling data that is no longer relevant being included in the mix to decide who’s in the top 10 and who’s not.
“Carly would easily make this debate if there were a consistent number of polls from one week to the next, but that’s not the case,” Isgur Flores told Breitbart’s Alex Swoyer.
In the three weeks before the first debate, CNN will be counting nine polls. In the three weeks since the debate, they will only be counting two. By simply averaging these polls together, CNN will be weighting the three weeks of polling before the debate more than three times as heavily as the three weeks of polling after Carly won the first debate. Carly’s message as an outsider who isn’t afraid to take on the status quo establishment is clearly resonating in every state. It’s exciting. At the same time, I think voters are going to be disappointed to hear that the RNC isn’t going to stand up to CNN and make sure their voices are heard.
Swoyer’s piece for Breitbart News broke down exactly how Fiorina was performing phenomenally in several early state polls, including ranking third in New Hampshire, fourth in South Carolina, fifth in Florida, second in Nevada, fifth in Iowa, and easily in the top five in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Michigan while being easily in the top 10 in Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio.
Originally, according to Politico, the RNC was having nothing of Fiorina’s campaign’s protestations about the unfair CNN rules. In the words of Politico, the RNC’s response to Fiorina six days ago was “tough luck.”
“All the candidates are well aware that, by law, the media set the criteria,” RNC chief strategist and communications director Sean Spicer told Politico back on Aug. 26. “Candidates — including the Fiorina campaign — had asked that the criteria be well-known before the process. CNN had made the criteria known four months ago.”
CNN claimed it couldn’t change the criteria by law, but a former Federal Election Commission (FEC) chairman blew that claim to bits quickly last week.
But Fiorina and her team and supporters were having nothing of that. The Super PAC backing Fiorina, CARLY For America, accused the RNC of standing with the “Clinton News Network” in CNN. “Rather than standing with the conservative grassroots that are supporting Carly the RNC is standing with the Clinton News Network,” they said in a statement a few days later.
In addition, several grassroots efforts sparked up everywhere. Hundreds of respected activists and elected officials from around the country wrote letters to CNN and the RNC. All of the above force both the RNC and CNN to the table to negotiate out how to get Fiorina on the main stage, where she rightfully belongs. Eventually the National Review, IJ Review and others like the Weekly Standard joined in with communicating their frustration about this to Priebus and CNN. All of that came as this deal was in the final stages and was already going to happen, as CNN had already scheduled a call with all the GOP presidential campaigns to lay out the new criteria
Now, however, after previously defending the unfair criteria Priebus offered his public support to CNN’s changes.
“I applaud CNN for recognizing the historic nature of this debate and fully support the network’s decision to amend their criteria,” Priebus said in a statement.