'Disservice': Pundits, Politicians Frustrated Fiorina Left Off NH Debate Stage

Posted: Feb 04, 2016 1:30 PM

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina feels ill-treated after being left off the debate stage this weekend in New Hampshire – and some in the media agree with her.

"Our debate process is broken," Fiorina said Wednesday in a letter to the Republican National Committee (RNC), which is partnering with ABC News to host the debate. "Networks are making up these debate rules as they go along -- not to be able to fit candidates on the stage -- but arbitrarily to decide which candidates make for the best TV in their opinion.”

Her campaign released an email Thursday morning asking supporters to sign a petition demanding her presence in Manchester:

On our end, we're doing all we can to make sure we get on that stage: but we need your signature on this petition to amplify our voice tremendously.

Every single signature matters—and will help prove that the American people believe every candidate should have a chance to debate, not just those blessed by party bosses and media executives.

Last time they tried to keep us off stage, you helped me fight back—and we won. Will you make that happen again?

Fiorina is one of only two candidates who won’t be answering ABC News’ questions this Saturday – the other being former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore. By the network’s standards, candidates had to finish in the top three in the Iowa caucuses, place in the top six in an average of New Hampshire polls, or land in the top six of national GOP polls. While Fiorina did not meet any of these three criteria, she has made a few good points to justify her presence nonetheless. For starters, she beat Governors Christie and Kasich in Iowa Monday night and New Hampshire polling has placed her higher than Ben Carson. She had just one delegate in Iowa, but that was one more than Christie.

Pundits and politicians think the former Hewlett Packard CEO has a point. Chuck Todd, for instance, agreed with Fiorina that earning a delegate is reason enough for her to join the debate.

Other figures like Ken Blackwell, the former state treasurer and secretary of state of Ohio, said leaving Fiorina out was a “disservice to Democracy.” 

Conservative columnist Byron York suggested that placing Fiorina in the same boat as Gilmore is all kinds of unfair:

Some politicians are also on Fiorina's side - like New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who released the following statement Thursday morning urging ABC to reconsider:

What do you think? Does Fiorina deserve a podium in Manchester?

Editor's Note: A mistake was made in an earlier version of this post. It read Kelly Ayotte was the governor of South Carolina. She is actually a New Hampshire senator. Nikki Haley is the South Carolina governor. Our apologies for the mix up.