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In an editorial Wednesday, the New Hampshire Union Leader called the announcement by Fox Business Network that Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina would not be on the main stage for Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate an effort to “determine winners and losers” ahead of the state’s first-in-the-nation primary.
FBN’s criteria require a candidate “to be either among the top six in an average of the five most recent national polls, or among the top five in an average of the five most recent Iowa or New Hampshire polls.”
That put Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, and John Kasich on the main stage.
In the Union Leader editorial, Joseph McQuaid said “the only ones who should be more upset than Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina today are the voters of New Hampshire”:
Sen. Paul and Ms. Fiorina do not belong at a debate “kiddies table” at Thursday night’s Fox Business event. Paul says he won’t go. Good for him (although we missed his protest when other credible candidates were excluded from other debates).
These TV events are hardly “debates” in the true sense of the word. They are glorified question-and-answer sessions, often with “gotcha” or frivolous questions. Sen. Paul made the point that he has a decidedly different position on some issues, one that might actually provide something for the candidates to “debate” about.
ABC News, which had partnered with the Union Leader for an upcoming Republican presidential debate, dropped the newspaper from participating just a day after Donald Trump complained about the Union Leader’s “unethical record” and argued it should have no role in the debate.