Republican Candidates Demand Opening and Closing Statements at Next Debate

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


From Alex Isenstadt’s Politico account of a leaked RNC conference call that ended in chaos:

Ken McKay, Chris Christie’s campaign manager, expressed worry about stating his position on an open conference call line, saying that it could expose his campaign to leaks.

I would expect the Christie campaign to understand the need for operational secrecy pretty well, and sure enough, they were apparently the only ones to think about this. And they were right: the entire conversation was immediately leaked.

But here’s the best part: the chaos was over the pressing question of whether candidates would be allowed to give opening and closing statements at the next Republican debate. Seriously. CNBC wants to ditch them, for obvious reasons I think. But the candidates are fuming over this brazen display of disrespect toward their God-given right to give mini-stump speeches on national TV. Rand Paul’s representative put it the most pungently: “If we don’t have opening and closing statements, CNBC can go fuck themselves.”

Trump and Carson later sent a letter to CNBC promising to boycott the debate unless opening and closing statements were allowed.1 The others didn’t go that far, but in a display of their shaky grasp of what the TV-watching public wants, they did all agree on the crucial need for the viewing audience to hear 30 minutes of tedious speechifying from their own silver tongues. However, that doesn’t mean there was a completely united front on this issue:

Christian Ferry, a representative for Lindsey Graham, who’s been relegated to undercard debates, chimed in. If any of the top-polling candidates didn’t want to participate in the Colorado debate, Graham would gladly take their place.

Atta boy, Lindsey!

1They also want assurances that the debate won’t go longer than two hours. This just goes to show that Trump and Carson can occasionally be right about something.

AN IMPORTANT UPDATE

We’re falling behind our online fundraising goals and we can’t sustain coming up short on donations month after month. Perhaps you’ve heard? It is impossibly hard in the news business right now, with layoffs intensifying and fancy new startups and funding going kaput.

The crisis facing journalism and democracy isn’t going away anytime soon. And neither is Mother Jones, our readers, or our unique way of doing in-depth reporting that exists to bring about change.

Which is exactly why, despite the challenges we face, we just took a big gulp and joined forces with The Center for Investigative Reporting, a team of ace journalists who create the amazing podcast and public radio show Reveal.

If you can part with even just a few bucks, please help us pick up the pace of donations. We simply can’t afford to keep falling behind on our fundraising targets month after month.

Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery said it well to our team recently, and that team 100 percent includes readers like you who make it all possible: “This is a year to prove that we can pull off this merger, grow our audiences and impact, attract more funding and keep growing. More broadly, it’s a year when the very future of both journalism and democracy is on the line. We have to go for every important story, every reader/listener/viewer, and leave it all on the field. I’m very proud of all the hard work that’s gotten us to this moment, and confident that we can meet it.”

Let’s do this. If you can right now, please support Mother Jones and investigative journalism with an urgently needed donation today.

payment methods

AN IMPORTANT UPDATE

We’re falling behind our online fundraising goals and we can’t sustain coming up short on donations month after month. Perhaps you’ve heard? It is impossibly hard in the news business right now, with layoffs intensifying and fancy new startups and funding going kaput.

The crisis facing journalism and democracy isn’t going away anytime soon. And neither is Mother Jones, our readers, or our unique way of doing in-depth reporting that exists to bring about change.

Which is exactly why, despite the challenges we face, we just took a big gulp and joined forces with The Center for Investigative Reporting, a team of ace journalists who create the amazing podcast and public radio show Reveal.

If you can part with even just a few bucks, please help us pick up the pace of donations. We simply can’t afford to keep falling behind on our fundraising targets month after month.

Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery said it well to our team recently, and that team 100 percent includes readers like you who make it all possible: “This is a year to prove that we can pull off this merger, grow our audiences and impact, attract more funding and keep growing. More broadly, it’s a year when the very future of both journalism and democracy is on the line. We have to go for every important story, every reader/listener/viewer, and leave it all on the field. I’m very proud of all the hard work that’s gotten us to this moment, and confident that we can meet it.”

Let’s do this. If you can right now, please support Mother Jones and investigative journalism with an urgently needed donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate