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Gary Johnson Sends CNN A Letter On Debate Exclusion

October 17, 2011Posted in Blog, Facebook, Gov. Gary Johnson, Nevada, Small Government

October 17, 2011, Santa Fe, NM - In response to being excluded from the October 18th CNN debate Presidential candidate Gary Johnson sent CNN Senior Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief Mr. Sam Fiest the following letter:

“Much has been said over the past several months about the mysterious logic by which CNN has systematically excluded me from your Republican presidential debates, apparently including the one to be held tomorrow evening in Las Vegas.

Commentators of all political stripes have pointed out the inconsistency by which other candidates are invited whose performance in national polls is within a point or two of mine, and whose records and credentials are in no way more substantive than that of a very successful two-term Republican governor from an overwhelmingly Democrat state.

The mystery of CNN’s decisions reached an entirely new level when, after I outperformed both Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum in your own August poll, and tied Herman Cain, you inexplicably did not include me in your subsequent polling. And it is worth noting that those other candidates have spent millions of dollars in their campaigns, while I have not.

As evidenced by the volatility in this race, nationally-televised debates are clearly having a major impact on the nomination campaign. Given that reality, it is more than disturbing that major news outlets, such as CNN, are exerting their own influence into the process by what can only be viewed as arbitrary decisions as to who is on the stage - and who is not. Debates should provide a level playing field on which name ID and money spent are set aside, and candidates’ “viability” is judged by voters on the basis of ideas and positions. However, when a successful former Republican governor is not even allowed onto that field, fairness goes out the window.

I will not speculate as to your reasoning for not allowing me on your stage. I will, though, suggest that there is no rational basis for excluding me, while inviting others whose credentials and polling performance are in no way measurably different than mine - particularly when the news media excludes me from the very same polls that are used to determine participation in debates. I would also point out, as have others, that with one or more invited candidates having decided not to participate in tomorrow night’s debate, CNN presumably has room to include one more candidate - particularly when that candidate’s credentials clearly merit inclusion.

This process is too important to be unduly influenced by arbitrary decisions made in news media conference rooms. I urge you to reconsider your approach and those decisions.”

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