CNN Changes GOP Debate Criteria After Carly Fiorina Protests

CNN said this afternoon it has changed its criteria for determining which of the GOP White House hopefuls qualifies for the big table and who goes to the kids table when it telecasts the next GOP debates in two weeks. That’s great news for Carly Fiorina, who has been rising in the polls since her strong performance at the kids table during the Fox News Channel GOP debates, but was unlikely to qualify for the CNN debates big table. Fiorina had been blasting CNN publicly for “putting their thumb on the scale” to keep her away from the main debate on September 16.

“The problem is solved,” a relieved RNC chair Reince Priebus just said on CNN of the change. The network “ought to have the Top 10 in the six weeks leading up to the debate” but not exclude those who would have qualified under the original criteria, he said in describing the adjustment.

CNN logoInitially, CNN said it would use the average of approved national polls from July 16 through September 10 to determine the field for the debates. But there have been far fewer polls conducted since FNC’s August 6 debate than CNN expected. So far, only three new polls recognized by that cable news network have been released. For comparison’s sake: Between August and mid-September 2007, there were 16 polls released, and there were 15 during the same period in 2011. CNN says it learned this week that there likely will be only two more polls by the deadline. Fiorina has been rising in recent polls but not enough to overcome her showing in earlier polls.

CNN announced today that any candidate polling in the Top 10 in an average of approved national polls released between August 7 and September 10 will be added to the big table – even if those candidates did not poll in the top 10 in an average of approved national polls between July 16 and September 10.

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