RNC Chair Reince Priebus Defends Debate Rules

The head of the Republican Party backs the rules limiting the first debate to ten candidates.
2:38 | 08/02/15

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Transcript for RNC Chair Reince Priebus Defends Debate Rules
No one will be watching the first gop debate more closely than the chairman of the RNC reince priebus. He joins us now from Wisconsin. I got to ask you Mr., chairman, you heard criticism of the rules. You received harsher criticism from Lindsey graham who said, I think it sucks when asked about your rules. So, what do you say, how can you leave a guy like Rick santorum out of the first debate? First of all, we wanted to do a few things, Jonathan, you got to go back to the beginning. Number one, we're not having a 23-debate circus, okay, we cut the debates to nine. We didn't want to have extremely liberal moderators do the debates. We had some say over the med ray or the. Now, what people have to understand, I'm not going to bore people to death on this, the federal election commission has rules. This airtime right now, your company controls it. I don't get to tell you who put on your corporate air time, and so there are some things that we don't control. Now, that being said, CNN and fox have agreed that every candidate, all 17, are going to participate in debate night. So, we're proud of the fact that everyone running is going to have an opportunity. And the reality is, it might be a little bit harsh, you can't necessarily treat someone that's polling at 18% or 20% the same as someone that's polling at.5% or 1%. Everyone is going to have an opportunity. I have seen the contract that the networks have with the RNC about these debates. It says clearly the criteria getting into the debate will be done in consultation with you. You had a role here -- I don't have a contract. You're wrong, I don't have a contract with Fox News and I don't have a contract with CNN. But that all being said, we're in consultation, and I have talked to them, but you know what, I'm not opposed to what their doing. I actually think they're doing great job. I'm very grateful to Fox News and CNN for the fact they're letting every single person, all 17, participate in debate night. Okay, let me -- I think we got amnesia. Four years ago, do you remember Jon huntsman and jerry Johnson didn't make the cut of some debates. I'm sure you remember that. The point is, there is a meritocracy involved but that being said, everyone is going to have an opportunity. I think it's great. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The roundtable is here now. Former house speaker newt

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