Union Leader

New Hampshire GOP Presidential Debate Live-Blog

We’ll be covering the debate sponsored this evening by CNN, WMUR and the Manchester Union Leader beginning at 7:30pm. The candidates participating this evening are Rep. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rep. Ron Paul, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Gov. Mitt Romney and former Sen. Rick Santorum.

Gary Johnson, who served two-terms as Governor of New Mexico, was not invited to the debate even though he met CNN’s criteria.

And before you watch the debate for tonight, here is some suggested reading: Dave Weigel has a report from the Granite State, AmSpec’s Jim Antle has a few quick thoughts on each candidate, The Hill offers five things for us to watch for this evening and a preview of tonight’s debate from The New York Times.

When you’re not invited to a debate…

As you know, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson wasn’t invited to that disaster that CNN called a presidential debate on Monday supposedly because he didn’t met the arbitrary requirements set by the sponsors. Johnson protested and presented a case for his inclusion, including polling data based on the criteria set for the debate. Johnson even received support from Rep. Ron Paul, who said during an interview prior to the debate that Johnson should have been invited.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. But Johnson is eager to get his message of personal liberty and free markets out, so he posted video responding to each question asked in Monday’s debate. Check it out below:

Ron Paul: Gary Johnson should be debating in New Hampshire

During a campaign stop over the weekend in Manchester, New Hampshire, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) came to Gov. Gary Johnson’s defense after being excluded in tonight’s debate:

As a candidate four years ago, Paul was shut out of some Republican primary debates, but he said his credibility has grown since then, in part because of numerous television appearances over the last three years.

He told a reporter that former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson should be allowed into Monday’s debate, which is sponsored by the New Hampshire Union Leader, CNN and WMUR.

“He should be there. He’s been a governor for two terms,” Paul said.

Johnson’s campaign has been fighting back against being excluded, but it doesn’t seem like CNN and other debate sponsors are budging; despite the fact that the former two-term Governor of New Mexico meets the necessary polling criteria for inclusion. What’s more, Johnson is the only candidate of those recently polled, including Bachmann, Cain Palin, Romney, that is popular in their home state (Rep. Paul was not included for some strange reason).

Gary Johnson’s latest video: “Tell CNN”

Although there seems to be no movement from CNN or any of the other sponsors of Monday’s debate in New Hampshire, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson is continuing protest his exclusion; and rightly so:

Gary Johnson makes his case to participate in Monday’s debate

Continuing his protest against not being invited to participate during Monday’s CNN-sponsored Republican debate in New Hampshire, Gary Johnson, who served two-terms as Governor of New Mexico, stated his case for inclusion at FoxNews.com:

In the early part of 1991, there was a governor from a relatively small state who, away from the national spotlight, had compiled a credible record, been reelected by those he served, and who was in the early stages of putting together a national campaign for President. His ranking in national political polls – when he was included – was in the neighborhood of 1-2%. By the end of 1991, he had skyrocketed to roughly six percent.

His name: Bill Clinton.

The so-called “frontrunners” for the ’92 Democrat presidential when Bill Clinton was still a blip on the screen? Mario Cuomo and Jerry Brown, both of whom were polling in double-digits. We all know how that turned out.

Likewise, in 1975, another governor, Jimmy Carter, was polling at 1%. And in 1987, the same was true of a fellow named Dukakis.

The point is clear: Using polls this early in a presidential election cycle to define who is a serious candidate or pick potential winners is a bad idea. Using them to exclude me, another Governor with a solid track record, from a critical national primary debate is even worse. But that is precisely what CNN and the other sponsors of the June 13 New Hampshire Republican presidential primary debate are doing.

Gary Johnson protests exclusion from New Hampshire debate

Gary Johnson, a former two-term Governor of New Mexico, has formally protested his exclusion from next Monday’s debate in New Hampshire hosted by firing off a letter to CNN and other sponsors noting that other past candidacies that started without much national attention or support gained by being included in debates:

The Gary Johnson for President campaign has been overwhelmed over the weekend with phone calls and emails all asking the same question: How is it that Governor Johnson is being excluded from the June 13 New Hampshire presidential primary debate?  Of course, they are asking the wrong people.

Having heard nothing to the contrary from you, the debate sponsors, we assume the decision not to invite Governor Johnson was based upon your “objective” polling criteria.  Certainly, you have to apply criteria.  We get that.  However, the idea that inclusion – or exclusion – from a critical debate in a critical state will be based entirely upon polling arithmetic, seven months before a single vote is cast, is not only absurd, but counter-intuitive to the very purpose of a debate.

Gary Johnson excluded from CNN debate

CNN and a couple of New Hampshire news outlets will be hosting a debate for Republican presidential hopefuls on Monday, June 13th. Unfortunately, Gary Johnson, who served two terms as Governor of New Mexico, is being excluded; according to a blog post on his campaign’s website on Friday:

CNN, WMUR, and the New Hampshire Union Leader will host a presidential debate on Monday, June 13th in Manchester. Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, and Ron Paul will participate. In addition, unannounced candidates Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum will also take part.

Gary Johnson, however, will not participate. Why? Because he wasn’t invited.

This morning, we learned along with the rest of world that CNN and the other debate sponsors have decided to exclude Governor Johnson from sharing your voice in the debate.
In the latest Gallup poll, released one week ago, Governor Johnson’s level of support registered at 3% nationally. This is competitive with candidates like Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum, both of whom have been invited to participate. In fact, I’m not aware of a poll in which Mr. Santorum has out-polled Governor Johnson nationally.

We first heard about this debate from numerous supporters in New Hampshire excited to see Governor Johnson take part. Those supporters assumed that Governor Johnson was invited.

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