The Note: Debate Over Debates Riles GOP


--READ THIS: When asked for his thoughts on Donald Trump and Ted Cruz saying that moderators should have to vote in the Republican primary, Priebus said moderators should care 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."

--ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Representatives from nearly all of the Republican presidential campaigns met last night to talk about formatting of debates after last week's CNBC debate sparked outrage from campaign and party leaders, ABC's KATHERINE FAULDERS, RYAN STRUYK and SHUSHANNAH WALSHE report. "We are going to take a greater role in negotiating with the networks on format," Gail Gitcho, a top aide to presidential candidate and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, said after the more than two-hour session. "We agreed to interject ourselves in the process more than we have been," Ben Carson's campaign manager Barry Bennett said as he departed the meeting at northern Virginia hotel. The Carson campaign was a driving force behind the meeting. Bennett said all campaigns agreed on the following: Candidates must be allowed a minimum of 30 seconds for opening and closing statements; debate moderators will post an equal number of questions to all candidates; debate hosts must agree to an on-screen graphic approval process for candidate biographical information.

--ANALYSIS -- ABC's RICK KLEIN: It took another fractious debate to unite the GOP candidates: They agree that they don't like these fractious debates, even if the viewing public seems to. But, as Sunday night's summit made clear, they agree on almost nothing of what they want out of the debates, aside from longer opening statements and some say over graphics that come on screen. Ben Carson wants fewer debates and more candidates together; Bobby Jindal and Lindsey Graham want more debates and to be alongside the likes of Carson and Donald Trump; Trump wants as few candidates as possible, and definitely wants everything to end inside of two hours. (Campaigns including Marco Rubio and John Kasich's down seem to want major changes at all, and Carly Fiorina was so unworried her campaign didn't send a representative to the meeting.) It's likely that the most substantive changes that will grow out of this mini-revolt will have the candidates taking a leading role in negotiating format with individual television outlets, instead of the RNC. That cuts out a middleman who was never interested in getting in the middle of those fights anyway. The campaigns seem to lack either the time, inclination, or unity (these are individuals who want the same job, remember) to make wholesale changes to a locked-in debate schedule. The RNC can't like the rumblings, but it may wind up cheering the results.

--HOW CARSON WOULD CHANGE THE DEBATES: During an interview on ABC's "This Week," Carson laid out the kinds of changes he hopes to see in future debates. "I would like to see us be able to have a substantial opening statement, at least a minute, a substantial closing statement, at least a minute, and I would like to see tighter guidelines in terms of people when they respond to questions," Carson said. "Some people pretty much ignore the time constraints, while others are very careful to stay within them and I think that creates inequality." More from ABC's KATHERINE FAULDERS.



CARLY FIORINA SAYS SHE WAS WRONG ON '92%' CLAIM. Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina acknowledged that she was incorrect during last week's primary debate when she claimed "92 percent of the jobs lost during [President] Barack Obama's first term belonged to women." After the debate, fact checkers pointed out Fiorina had recycled the statistic from former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who first made the claim in the 2012 election. It rated "Mostly False" by Politifact four years ago. "I misspoke on that particular fact," Fiorina said on ABC's "This Week," ABC's JORDYN PHELPS notes. Fiorina then criticized the "liberal media" for picking apart the statistic rather than her broader argument, which was that liberal policies are bad for women economically.

NOTED: WHY FIORINA IS WORRIED ABOUT SOLAR STORMS. Warning that the nation is not adequately protected from the threat of a major solar storm, Fiorina said she would create a "consolidated command" to deal with the threat as president. "I would stand up a consolidated command in the United States government," Fiorina said when asked how she would respond to the threat of a solar storm, known technologically as electromagnetic pulse (EMP), at a Republican county gathering Saturday night.

JEB BUSH REFLECTS ON DEBATE PERFORMANCE: 'I GOTTA GET BETTER.' With three months until the Iowa Caucus, 10 Republican candidates campaigned in Iowa on Halloween where all the talk was still centered around Wednesday's GOP debate and for Jeb Bush, his lackluster performance. "I have enough humility to know I gotta get better," Bush told reporters. "I don't have this gigantic ego that says, well, they're just stupid. Iowa voters don't understand me. They're eating Monsanto-laced agriculture products," Bush joked, then told reporters he's a competitive guy whose record is unmatched and wants to win. ABC's JOSH HASKELL has more.

TED CRUZ ENDS BIG WEEK PHEASANT HUNTING IN IOWA. After a breakout moment at the third Republican presidential debate, Sen. Ted Cruz ended his week with a bang -- literally -- by hunting pheasants with Rep. Steve King while in Iowa. Trekking through Iowa cornstalks in a bright orange vest, the Texas senator pondered where he might be a year from now, ABC's JESSICA HOPPER and JOSH HASKELL report. "I may be hunting in Iowa but it may be for swing votes up north in October of 2016," Cruz joked with King. "Who knows. We may have a big enough lead that come October, we figure this [hunting] is the best thing we can do." Cruz seemed to revel in the momentum his campaign has seen, gloating in Des Moines on Saturday that his website's server crashed during last week's primary debate.

DONALD TRUMP RELEASES PLAN TO REFORM VETERANS AFFAIRS. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump released his plan to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs, promising to fire all leadership and create a "seamless transition from service to civilian life" for veterans. Speaking from the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, Virginia, with veterans behind him, Trump outlined his plan, which would allow "all veterans eligible for VA health care can bring their veterans ID card to any doctor or facility that accepts Medicare to get the care they need immediately. Immediately," Trump said. According to ABC's JOHN SANTUCCI, Trump says the jobs of VA executives will all be reviewed, adding, "they're gone." The real estate mogul says his goal is to create more VA clinics across the country, specifically in rural areas.

PAUL RYAN STANDS BY COMMENTS CRITICAL OF DONALD TRUMP, BUT WOULD SUPPORT HIM AS PRESIDENT. Newly-elected House Speaker Paul Ryan believes every Republican presidential candidate would make a better commander-in-chief than Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton -- including Donald Trump, whose past comments on immigration the Wisconsin senator called "extremely disrespectful." Ryan said he stood by comments he made in July about Trump's rhetoric on immigration. He said Trump didn't "speak for the Republican Party" shortly after the real estate mogul said illegal immigrants coming into the United States were criminals and rapists. Despite differences with Trump, Ryan said he would support whoever emerges as the Republican presidential nominee, ABC's BENJAMIN SIEGEL reports. "Every one of these people would be a far better president than Hillary Clinton," he said. "We're having a good primary process. It's cathartic, it's helpful."

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR TO YOUNG WOMEN GOING INTO POLITICS: 'IT'S WORTH IT.' Senator Amy Klobuchar, one of only 20 women in the Senate, is sharing her advice on breaking the political glass ceiling, telling ABC's MARTHA RADDATZ that it's important for young women to "be ready to make that plunge and take those risks." "My first advice is that it's worth it. ... And the second thing is that you have to have a thick skin," she told Raddatz. In her new book, "The Senator Next Door," Klobuchar shares her experiences as the first female senator from Minnesota, a journey that began with the birth of her daughter Abigail, ABC's MICHAEL SORGE notes.


--HILLARY CLINTON MEETS HALLOWEEN-COSTUMED IMPERSONATOR. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton met a small impersonator on Halloween. Sullivan Wood dressed as the former secretary of state and attended Clinton's campaign event in Charleston, South Carolina, on Saturday, ABC's LIZ KREUTZ reports. The 4-year-old girl wore American flag shoes and carried a briefcase that had "Senator's Briefcase" sewed into the side. Her mother, Jennifer, said she is a big admirer of Clinton.

--BERNIE SANDERS WENT TRICK-OR-TREATING WITH HIS GRANDCHILDREN. Bernie Sanders went trick-or-treating with three of his grandchildren in a neighborhood in Lebanon, New Hampshire, Saturday following his campaign events in the area. All dressed up and ready to go in their Halloween costumes, the children had joined their grandfather earlier in the day, waving to supporters onstage during a town hall meeting, ABC's MARYALICE PARKS writes. Their father is Bernie Sanders's eldest son, Levi Sanders. Levi and his wife Raine Riggs adopted all three from China and the family now lives in Claremont, New Hampshire. Sunnee, 12, was dressed as the White Witch from "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." Ryleigh, 10, wore a blue and tan "Sonic the Hedgehog" costume that included pointed ears. Her mother said Sonic was her favorite. Their son, Grayson, 9, had on a full-body, fuzzy "Abominable Snowman" costume with a big floppy head.


JIMMY CARTER ON THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL RACE, CONFRONTING CANCER AND STAYING BUSY. On the eve of 39th anniversary of the election that swept him into the White House, former president Jimmy Carter weighed in on this year's presidential campaign and the growing popularity of political outsider candidates like Donald Trump, ABC's TAYLOR TURNER writes. "I had nine very competent people running against me then," Carter said of the 1976 campaign in an interview with ABC's David Wright. "But there wasn't as much attraction then for someone who doesn't have any government experience, like there is now." Carter, 91, sat down with Wright in Memphis, Tennessee, to discuss his legacy, sustainable housing and the current political climate in Washington. The 2016 presidential campaign has been defined by the rise of candidates such as Trump and former neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who are leading in the polls but have never served in public office.


@ryanstruyk: Here's the aftermath of the GOP debates meeting.

@McCormickJohn: Happy Birthday, @ScottWalker !

@amyewalter: Usually, hard to find differences btwn candidates in primary debates. not true in this GOP field. Focus should be on those, not personality

@AriFleischer: Issue for Jeb is whether GOP voters want to "fix it" or "change it". I suspect most want a change more than a fix. Can Jeb be change agent?

@thehill : Speaker Ryan to continue sleeping in his DC office: