Townhall editor-at-large and Fox News contributor Mary Katharine Ham will join the ABC News moderator panel for the next Republican presidential debate on Saturday in New Hampshire.
RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer announced the addition Wednesday night.
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) February 4, 2016
Ham’s addition to the ABC News panel comes following October’s controversial CNBC debate, after which RNC Chairman Reince Priebus described the moderators’ treatment of the Republican candidates as a “crap sandwich.”
Sen Ted Cruz scored the line of the evening, when he called out the moderators. “This is not a cage match,” he said, and then began to go down the line of his fellow candidates on the stage, recounting the questions that they had received: “Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain?…Ben Carson, can you do math?…John Kasich, would you insult two people over here?…Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign?…Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?”
“How about talking about the substantive issues people care about?” Cruz asked, which elicited loud audience applause.
Priebus responded to the event, promising that CNBC would not host another debate, and took it a step further by cancelling an NBC News debate scheduled for January of this year.
As reported by Western Journalism, the Republican Party’s decision to allow CNBC to solely moderate the debate violated Priebus’ own guidelines, which he laid out with conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt early last year. “[W]e’re going to have a reasonable number of debates, and we’re going to have conservatives help in the moderating and the management of these debates,” Priebus said.
One controversy brewing for Saturday night’s debate in New Hampshire is whether Carly Fiorina will be included. Due to the multiple candidates announcing the end of their campaigns this week, there will be no “undercard” debate. Under ABC News’ announced criteria, Fiorina does not qualify for the main stage.
In another letter to the RNC, she argued that eight candidates were allowed on the stage in 2012, and all the candidates who remained in the race after Iowa were invited to participate in the debates that followed.
Fiorina further contends that she outperformed others in Iowa who will be on the stage in New Hampshire, including Governors Chris Christie and John Kasich, and is polling better than Ben Carson in New Hampshire.
The former Hewlett Packard CEO is calling on the RNC to compel ABC News to let her on the stage.
Saturday’s night debate is scheduled to start at 8 P.M. ET, from St. Anselm College in Manchester.
h/t: Hot Air