CNN’s Mark Preston joined me at the start of today’s program to explain the amendment to CNN’s debate rules:
HH: I’m joined now by CNN’s Mark Preston where’s he’s executive editor of CNN politics. You can follow him on Twitter, “@PrestonCNN.” Mark, welcome. Carly Fiorina was just with me, congratulating CNN on its decision. I thought you should come on and explain to people the amendment you made today and why you did so.
MP: Thanks for having me. So, this is a very complicated process, obviously, when you’re putting together these presidential debates and trying to forecast who’s actually going to be in the top ten and should be on-stage together, talking. A couple of things. One is, we were trying to be inclusionary – not exclusionary – looking at the current state of the race. Let me just give you some historical analysis and how we decide to put people on the debate or at least have them qualify for it. If you go back to 2011, there were fifteen national polls taken from the first of August to mid-September. In 2007, there were sixteen polls that were taken in that same time period. Currently where we stand right now, there have been only three national polls since the Fox debate which is amazing, especially given the amount of interest given in the race, the amount of people that have watched it. So what we decided to do, although our original criteria -which was drafted back in May and made public and very transparent – what we decided is to amend it. And how we amended it is that we have added an additional qualification to a candidate who is performing well after the Fox debate. I know there’s been a lot of focus on Carly Fiorina and a lot of people think that it will be Carly Fiorina who will be added to the stage. But the bottom line is, we really don’t know who is going to be added to the stage. If the qualifying period were to close today, Hugh, Carly Fiorina would be on the stage. And for all our listeners out there – because this is so complicated – we would not be excluding anybody from the stage. So in fact, instead of ten people on the stage, Hugh, you’re going to get a chance to ask questions of eleven people. But having said that, people could still drop out. People still might not hit the original criteria and they could drop out or somebody doesn’t do well enough to be in the top ten but during this time period to be added to the debate, and I know it’s– Continue Reading