Mediaite’s Alex Griswold pens a smart article on the contortions CNN made to get Rand Paul in its main debate tomorrow night…
So how did Paul end up on the main stage? Simple: he probably cried his way in.
The first clue was when CNN pushed back its announcement of the debate lineup from 9 AM Sunday to noon. The official line was because a Fox News poll was released at the same time showing Paul with good numbers. But again, the math was simple; everyone went into Sunday knowing Paul needed to poll at 6 percent in the Fox poll in order to make the debate.
But the Paul campaign has been extremely vocal in kicking up a huge fuss ever since it first became clear that he would miss the debate requisites. “He has over 400 fully operational grassroots groups, and his campaign and related entities have raised $22 million for this race. It is simply not consistent with facts to attempt to force the campaign off of the main debate stage,” the campaign argued.
CNN claims: “Paul, who was in danger of being removed from the main stage, was saved at the 11th hour by showing viability in Iowa in a Fox News poll released Sunday morning,” the CNN report reads. Note what CNN doesn’t say, that the viability shown in the Fox News poll was enough to put Paul over the 4 percent requirement (it wasn’t).
The following paragraph highlights the real issue: “‘In the light of new polling released this morning and in the spirit of being as inclusive as possible, CNN has decided to include Sen. Rand Paul in the prime time debate,’ a CNN spokeswoman said.”
Now call me crazy, but if Paul had actually earned his way on the debate stage, why is CNN citing “the spirit of being… inclusive,” why did they have to “decide” to include him, and why did they feel a need to issue a statement?
Because they got caught violating their own debate participation rules?