GOP Chairman Reince Priebus Backs Campaigns Being 'More Involved' in Debate Process

Reince Priebus' comments come after campaign aides met Sunday on debate formats.

ByABC News
November 2, 2015, 7:13 AM

— -- Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus says he agrees that presidential campaigns should take a greater role in determining the format of primary debates.

"I do agree with them they should be more involved in the formatting," Priebus told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America" in an exclusive interview this morning.

Representatives from nearly all the Republican presidential campaigns met Sunday night to talk about formatting of debates after last week's CNBC debate sparked outrage from campaign and party leaders.

"What we’re going to make sure we do is communicate with the candidates, listen to the candidates, and make sure that when there’s unanimity among the candidates, we’re going to fight for what the candidates want," Priebus said.

Candidates have raised concerns about everything from moderator bias to green rooms, and from on-air graphics to speaking time. Priebus said he didn't anticipate any changes to the debate schedule.

When asked for his thoughts on Donald Trump and Ted Cruz’s saying moderators should have to vote in the Republican primary, Priebus said moderators should "give a rip" about the party's future.

“I do think it’s true that in a Republican primary, people that care or give a rip about the Republican Party ought to be the people who are involved in the debate,” he said. “At least care about the future of our party, I mean, I think that’s a factor, George. This is a Republican primary, so I do see that point. But there’s also a lot of candidates, George.”

"If what happened from last night goes forward, I think it’s exactly where we want to be," he said.

Ben Carson's campaign manager, Barry Bennett, who organized the meetings, said all the campaigns agreed they needed opening and closing statements, an equal number of questions to all candidates and approval of all on-screen graphics that list candidates’ biographical information.

Meanwhile, the RNC Sunday took steps Sunday to quell an all-out revolt by the campaigns. Republican officials appointed Sean Cairncross, chief operating officer of the RNC, to take the central role in the debate process.