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Lindsey Graham: I ‘Resent’ The Debate Rules That Aren’t Letting Me In

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Lindsey Graham: I ‘Resent’ The Debate Rules That Aren’t Letting Me In


Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is not happy about the debate rules set up by the Republican National Committee and Fox News for the upcoming debate — which stipulate that only candidates who register in the top 10 in the national polls can participate in the main GOP debate, which will be held August 6 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Right now it appears that Graham is highly unlikely to qualify for the debate under those terms. A recent analysis by NBC News of the national polls finds him with only 1.4 percent support, putting him in 14th place out of the 15 candidates who were included in those surveys. (To add insult to injury, one of the top 10 is Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who hasn’t even announced yet.)

During an appearance Friday on Fox News, Graham was asked by host Bill Hemmer whether, in the event that he doesn’t crack the top 10, he would still attend the “additional candidates” forum, which is the second-tier televised event Fox News has set up for candidates who don’t qualify for the primary debate.

“Well, I’ve got to make my mind up about that — but Brad Pitt would be in the debate in August. Anybody with any celebrity would be in the debate,” Graham said.

“I think this is a dumb way to weed out the field. I don’t mind weeding out the field over time — but a national poll tests celebrity. Big states have an advantage versus small states. People who have run before have an advantage over those who haven’t. It’s July, for God’s sake. So a national poll is a lousy way, in my view, to determine who should be on the stage. And I quite frankly resent it.”

Hemmer asked: “Do you want to name some names there?”

“Yeah,” Graham said, “the RNC.”

“Any others?” Hemmer continued, clearly trying to suppress a smile.

Graham then gave the answer Hemmer was clearly expecting: “Fox News.”

“How would you resolve this, Senator?”

“I would find a way for everybody who’s filed, and has got a viable campaign, to be on the stage. And after a couple of debates you could start weeding people out,” Graham said.

“It’s not about me; it’s about destroying the early primary process of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Under this construct, nobody really cares about coming to Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina anymore — it’s all about money. And what you’re going to reward over time is the people with the most money, and you’re destroying the early primary process. And I think that’s bad for the Republican Party.”

Of course, Graham is making the assumption that his campaign is in any way “viable.”

Screenshot: Fox News



  1. Thelma4582 July 12, 2015

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  2. dovawk July 12, 2015

    So, let me wrap my head around this. If Graham were in, say, 21st place, he would be satisfied if the RNC changed their rules to include the top 21. I see.

    What seems funny is that he answered his own question when he answered about the Fox News candidates set up for ones who didn’t qualify. He said “Well, I’ve got to make my mind up about that — but Brad Pitt would be in the debate in August. Anybody with any celebrity would be in the debate,” Yeah, can you imagine a debate with every Tom, Dick, and Harry that wants to run. There would probably be 50 or 60. Even Fox News would set limits … Wonder if he would still make it? Dam, that’s right, he’s in 14th!

  3. charleo1 July 12, 2015

    Graham is correct, money is destroying the democratic process. Now, if he wants to separate himself from his GOP competition, he might think about voicing his opposition to it’s unprecedented influence since the Citizens United verdict opened up the flood gates, and created this monstrosity we have today. Where he surely knows, a shadow primary has been underway for months, with the candidates vying for the favor of a tiny minority of the Oligarch Class. The question Senator Graham should be asking, with the candidates representing both Parties most likely already chosen. Is any debate on Fox or anywhere else at this point, anymore than reality show entertainment? Superfluous, “American Idol style,” pap for the masses?

  4. 1standlastword July 13, 2015

    Lindsey…darling — you still have time: Do something outrageous, make yourself a spectacle– and that will attract conservative millionaires to fund you. You’re have way home with your connections–make it pay baby!!!


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