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article imageDid CNN change its own rules to allow Rick Perry in its debate?

By Andrew Moran     Jan 13, 2012 in Politics
Columbia - Media pundits are questioning if CNN bent its debate criteria in order to allow Texas Governor Rick Perry to participate in the upcoming Southern Republican Presidential Debate. According to CNN criteria, Perry does not meet any of the standards.
Last week, CNN announced four separate ways to qualify for the Jan. 19 Southern Republican Presidential Debate taking place in Charleston, which is two days before the important South Carolina primary.
The news network stated that invitations will be given to candidates who meet the following criteria:
- A candidate who placed in one of the four top spots in the Iowa Caucus or New Hampshire Primary.
- A candidate who polled at least an average of seven percent in at least three national or South Carolina polls between Jan. 1 and Jan. 18
Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry was in fifth place in the Iowa Caucus and was awarded two delegates. In the New Hampshire GOP Primary, Perry was last place with one percent of the vote.
This month’s national and South Carolina polls have Perry placing fifth with an average of a little more than five percent. Only one national poll shows Perry hitting the seven percent threshold – Reuters/Ipsos.
Although Perry does not meet the criteria, CNN is still allowing Perry to participate in the crucial debate. Talking Points Memo attempted to reach CNN for further comment as to why Perry is in the debate. A network representative did not respond.
Many in the media are now criticizing CNN for breaking its own rules. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow asked during her television report: “If you’re not going to follow the rules, why don’t you have Buddy Roemer there too?” United Liberty titled its report, “Rick Perry Receiving Treatment from CNN Gary Johnson Could Only Dream About.”
And, of course, Ron Paul supporters have pondered the question: “Imagine if Ron Paul didn’t meet [these rules].”
This story comes as Barry Wynn, former chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party and a large financial supporter of Perry, defected to the former Massachusetts Governor and GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney campaign.
Wynn criticized Perry’s “destructive” remarks about Romney being a “vulture capitalist.”
“This latest attack, it's so foreign to me, I couldn't see myself being a part of that. I don't think you can be on both sides of free market capitalism,” said Wynn in an interview with CNN. “A big part of me being a Republican for the last 40 years is that I think it's the best hope to protect free market capitalism, the growth engine of our economy.”
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