Just wait until we get to do this all over again (Credit: Reuters/Evan Semon)

No more "crap sandwiches": GOP candidates to discuss changes to debate format without the RNC

The problem is with the format and the questions, not the quality of the candidates -- or so the candidates insist


Scott Eric Kaufman
October 30, 2015 6:32PM (UTC)

The Republican reaction to Wednesday night's disastrous CNBC debate isn't -- as it should be -- that the party might want to consider finding itself some better candidates, but that the universe is so unfair that the only way its candidates can spend hours on television without embracing idiocy is to further rig the debates.

Which is precisely what Politico is reporting that the candidates plan to do -- and they plan to do it without the help of the party's national committee. The leader of that august organization, Reince Priebus, went on "Hannity" last night and attempted to salvage his relationship with the candidates by saying that, like them, he's very aggrieved.

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"I can't tell you how pissed off I am," he said, telling host Sean Hannity how pissed off he is. The debate "was insanity," and he spent the majority of it "just sitting there seething" and "thinking about hitting the circuit breaker in the auditorium."

The CNBC moderators, he continued, had assured the RNC that their questions would be softballs lobbed with great care from a very short distance, but instead "what was delivered was a crap sandwich."

The candidates apparently agree with Priebus' assessment, but they have no faith in his organization's ability to make the next debate less frustrating. As Ben Carson told Bill O'Reilly Thursday, "the debate last night crystallized the fact that these 'gotcha' type questions are not very helpful in terms of helping people understand who the candidates are, so I have asked my staff to reach out to the staffs of the other candidates."

"Let's talk about different types of formats, perhaps something where you have a few minutes to talk about your policies and then be questioned about them," he added. Other complaints include the selection criteria for inclusion in the main debate, as well as the overall length of the debate.

Representatives for Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Bobby Jindal and Lindsey Graham have already confirmed that they will be attending the summit. The next debate will be held on November 10th and hosted by Fox Business News' Maria Bartiromo and Neil Cavuto, neither of whom are likely candidates to ask so-called "gotcha" questions.


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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