Under Pressure, CNN Changes Debate Criteria

By Mark Joyella Comment

Under pressure from critics and candidates–including Republican presidential contender Carly Fiorina, CNN announced Tuesday it would revise its rules for participation in the network’s upcoming GOP debate, making a change which will give Fiorina a spot in the prime time debate.

Fiorina, who was among the participants in Fox News Channel’s second-tier debate, performed strongly and has seen a jump in her poll standings. That has led to increased calls for her to be in the prime time debate on CNN, which would have shut her out under its original rules for participation.

CNN’s Mark Preston announced the eligibility change on air today and in a post on the CNN.com website.

CNN reevaluated its criteria and decided to add a provision that better reflects the state of the race since the first Republican presidential debate in August, the network announced Tuesday.

Now, any candidate who ranks in the top 10 in polling between August 6 and September 10 will be included.

The adjustment may result in additional candidates joining the top-tier debate, but the final podium placements will not be known until the eligibility window closes on September 10.

If the eligibility period were to close today, Fiorina would be among the top-tier candidates.