Video: GOP Candidates Want Bigger Say On Debates

Washington – Special to News Talk Florida

Campaign representatives of Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, and South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham will meet in Washington on Sunday to talk about how to best workout future GOP Presidential debate. Other campaigns are expected to join the meeting which is open to all of the campaigns but is closed to the Republican National Campaign.

As of Thursday night, representatives from the Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina and Rick Santorum campaigns are also expected to attend the meeting, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sunday.

At this point both Jeb Bush and Rand Paul’s campaigns are tentative, while a spokesperson for Chris Christie confirmed that their team was not part of the discussions.

The campaigns’ goal is to come up with a way to gain more control over a debate process that they see as unruly and ill fitted to the interests of the Republican candidate.

Speaking to the press Thursday on the road Carson talked about the changes he would like to see the debates make. “I’ve asked my staff to reach out to the other campaigns to talk about a change in format,” Carson, a frontrunner for the GOP’s nomination, told reporters in Denver ahead of a campaign speech at Colorado Christian University. ”

And we’re looking for an opportunity to actually be able to explain what your program is, what your philosophy for leadership is and then be questioned about it,” Carson added.

Carson said he would lobby for “a change in format” for future debates. What would the changed format look like, exactly? It’s not totally clear, but it probably wouldn’t include a mention of his ties to a shady nutritional-supplement company.

Carson called for more speaking times for candidates and for the next debates to have “moderators who are interested in actually getting the facts and not gotcha questions” following a debate in Colorado that sparked widespread criticism of CNBC’s moderators. The CNBC debate turned from candidates talking about the issues to them blasting the way the network was shaping the debates.

Most of the candidates blamed this on CNBC’s moderators. This was the case after both the FOX and CNN debates where candidates were concerned about what they called un fair questions.

At one point Wednesday night on the CNBC debate, Ted Cruz declared, “The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media,” while Rubio accused Carl Quintanilla, Becky Quick, and John Harwood of dredging up “discredited” attacks. Rubio also referred to the “mainstream media,” which, it’s safe to say, includes CNBC, as the Democrats’ “ultimate super-pac.

Look for changes to be made by the networks and the candidates will clearly have a bigger say in how the debates are conducted. There are likely to see less candidates on the stage with less moderators and more focused questions.

The rest of the debate schedule resumes on November 10th Fox Business/WSJ Republican Debate that would be held at the Milwaukee Theatre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Tuesday, December 15th will be the CNN/Salem Republican Debate which ends the 2015 season with things picking up again in January.


Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.