RNC’s Spicer: ‘Highly Unfair’ To Change Debate Criteria Retroactively, ABC’s Criteria ‘The Most Inclusive’

RNC Chief Strategist and Communications Director Sean Spicer responded to Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina’s criticisms of her exclusion from Saturday’s Republican debate on Friday’s “America’s Newsroom” on the Fox News Channel.

Spicer said, “ABC, as all networks, determine the criteria for the debates. They issued that criteria a month ago, and announced who made it yesterday as you saw. Look, I think that we’ve seen in the past, Governor Christie didn’t make the main stage once. Senator Paul didn’t. They worked hard, got back on it. I would hope that she would continue to work hard. And we’ve got several debates, one a week now going on. and if the voters — if she gets those numbers up she’ll be back on the stage, as did governor Christie, as did Senator Paul. ”

When asked about Fiorina’s argument that she got more votes than Ohio Governor John Kasich and Christie in Iowa, and is tied with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush in delegates, Spicer answered, “Well, look, you’ve got two candidates — three candidates rather that dropped out this week. Both Senator Paul and Governor Huckabee both got a delegate too. I think if they knew that the rules could be changed maybe they would have stayed in. So, I think, what do you say to them if you turn around and say well, if you, if you changed the rules, do they then get to get back in the race, and say, ‘Knowing that I could have been on the stage in New Hampshire, based on that, then I would get in.’ But the criteria was set. Everyone knew what it was, you know, and, so I think it would be highly unfair to turn around and change it retroactively at this point.”

He added, “I think that she’s a great candidate, and we’ve been blessed by tremendous amount — I think, we, the party have gone out of our way, since the beginning of this process, and you and Martha were there back in Cleveland last August, when we took the unprecedented step making sure that all of the top 17 candidates had a place on one or two stages, and have tried to maintain that as long as possible. So, when it comes to the party, we have gone out of our way, in a historic fashion, to ensure that as many voices of our candidates could be on stage as possible, but at some point the criteria is what it is, and we have to recognize that.”

When asked about Fiorina’s accusation that the game was “rigged” and there were “backroom deals,” Spicer stated, “[R]espectfully, they have been out there publicly, for a month now, as far as what they are. they have been for every network. They released them. They talk about what it’s going to take to get in. And so, you know, it is what it is. That’s all I can tell you. I think that they have been done fairly. These criteria that ABC has, are the most inclusive that anyone has been so far. They look at both how people placed in Iowa. They look at the top six in New Hampshire. They look at the top six nationally. There’s three ways to get into that. That’s probably the most inclusive criteria that we’ve had so far, going forward.”

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