Frustrated Campaigns May Hold Events Without the RNC's Blessing

Cortney O'Brien
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Posted: Nov 02, 2015 11:45 AM
Frustrated Campaigns May Hold Events Without the RNC's Blessing

Most of the GOP field is still fuming over CNBC's insulting interrogation at last week's 2016 presidential debate. The campaigns chastised the network for questions that were full of bias and short on substance. Now, they have turned their frustration on the RNC.

Following the disastrous CNBC debate, the RNC severed its ties with NBC for a debate scheduled for February. Yet, the candidates argue it’s not enough to make up for the two hours of torture they endured in Boulder and are taking their own initiative to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Ben Carson was the first candidate to voice demands for fairer formats and his campaign manager, Barry Bennett, said his boss’ sentiment was shared by others. Several other campaign representatives met with Bennett Sunday night to discuss changes to future debates. Their suggestions are as follows:

Bennett said the demanded changes include largely bypassing the RNC in coordinating with network hosts, mandatory opening and closing statements, an equal number of questions for the candidates, and pre-approval of on-screen graphics.

They are also mulling the possibility of holding events without the RNC's blessing.

At least one campaign refused to rule out holding debates that are unsanctioned by the Republican National Committee, with Ben Carson campaign manager Barry Bennett saying that he didn't think it would be hard to buy television airtime for such an event. 

RNC chairman Reince Priebus responded Monday insisting the committee is still safely behind the wheel.

"The truth is, we're involved, we're in control. We're setting the calendar," Priebus said Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America." "The ability to sanction or de-sanction a debate is with the RNC. And the candidates want that to be with the RNC because we have the leverage to make that happen."

The candidates' requests may seem like a revolt, but are they justified considering how they were treated by smug moderators like John Harwood last Wednesday? Candidates shouldn’t have to waste time debating the moderators or answering questions about Fantasy Football.

Not all the GOP contenders are complaining, however. Ohio Gov. John Kasich said he was “appreciative” of how CNBC conducted the event.