No Republican In 2024 Should Cooperate With The Commission On Presidential Debates

No Republican In 2024 Should Cooperate With The Commission On Presidential Debates

This election couldn’t have been handled more poorly by the supposedly non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates.

After a disaster of a first debate moderated by Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who lost control of the candidates on stage going after each other in prime time, the debate commission took a series of steps that would only benefit Joe Biden while hiding behind the guise of public safety to justify its decisions.

President Donald Trump’s positive diagnosis with the novel Wuhan Coronavirus was revealed just more than a full day after the first debate’s conclusion, spiking fears that an infected president on stage two weeks later could turn the town hall into a super spreader event.

Despite the fact that the president was on track for a full recovery, the commission announced the next week without consulting the Trump campaign that the traditional town hall style match-up would instead be a virtual two-hour zoom call between the two candidates, and would still be moderated by C-SPAN’s Steve Scully.

Trump immediately rejected the idea which would only strip the president of the ability to flex his physical presence on stage to engage in a dynamic conversation. Remember in 2016, Trump was accused of intimidating Hillary Clinton on the town hall carpet, which the former secretary of state admitted made her uncomfortable. Trump appeared to deploy the same strategy last month taking command of the in-person debate stage, clearly agitating the frail 77-year-old former vice president. Whether it’s effective or productive is debatable. Whether it’s still a key stripped from the president’s tool box by moving the forum to a cable television-style show by the debate commission, there’s no doubt.

“I’m not going to waste my time at a virtual debate,” Trump said on Fox Business.

Meanwhile, the moderator for the prime time event who used to be an intern for Biden, was caught publicly consulting with fired Trump Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci on how to handle the president in a since-deleted tweet.

Scully claimed his account was hacked. The debate commission stood by him. The president mocked him.

The debate commission responded by canceling the event altogether citing health concerns since the president refused to participate in an unfair format that would only serve his Democratic opponent’s interests while making adequate progress on his recovery from COVID-19. ABC and NBC began making arrangements with the campaigns anyway to host competing town halls on Oct. 15 instead, the same date the original town hall debate was supposed to take place. By the time Thursday rolled around, the president had indeed fully recovered from the coronavirus and was no longer considered contagious. When the candidates each took their respective stages in Philadelphia and Miami, there was no reason why the two major party nominees could not participate in the traditional town hall debate as planned.

Of course, on the same day of the rival town halls which featured Biden supporters advertised as “undecided voters,” Scully admitted that he had lied about the security lapse behind his Twitter account and was suspended from C-SPAN indefinitely.

The Commission on Presidential Debates, run entirely by supporters of the Democratic ticket continued its cascade of decisions made to benefit their preferred candidate.

On Friday, the moderator for this week’s anticipated match-up unveiled the topics for Thursday’s third and final debate, including the omission of foreign policy from what is traditionally the foreign policy debate. The decision came conveniently right after a series of blockbuster revelations would emerge implicating Biden in his son’s overseas business dealings that included officials with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

The topics for Thursday’s final show-down moderated by NBC’s Kristen Welker, whose family donated thousands to Biden’s campaign, now include “Fighting COVID-19,” “American Families,” “Race in America,” “Climate Change,” “National Security,” and “Leadership.” Most of the topics had already been discussed at length in the first debate last month.

On Monday night, the commission declared it would mute the microphones of each candidate Thursday night to cut down on the candidate’s talking over each other to the Trump campaign’s objections.

“It is completely unacceptable for anyone to wield such power, and a decision to proceed with that change amounts to turning further editorial control of the debate over to the Commission which has already demonstrated its partiality to Bide,” Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien wrote to the commission.

Stepein also condemned the commission from keeping foreign policy off the list of debate topics, stifling discussion over of a primary area of success for the Trump administration brokering an explosion of peace deals in the Middle East.

“We urge you to recalibrate the topics,” Stepein demanded.

By now it’s clear that the debate commission has exposed its own obvious biases on behalf of the Democrats this fall, which calls into question the purpose of having an independent group to organize the prime time events at all if it serves to be impartial in name only. Did the debate commission organize presidential primary debates too? In 2008, Democrats held 26 debates. That same year, Republicans held 21. In 2012, Republicans held 20. Surely the parties have demonstrated their ability to organize debates themselves.

If the nonpartisan commission was only going to serve the interests of Democratic candidates, why would a Republican nominee engage in negotiations that will always be two against one? Why would a Republican nominee subject themselves to the decisions of the Democratic-aligned commission?

In the digital era, one might also wonder whether the current format for presidential debates is even outdated.

On Tuesday, the National Review’s Jim Geraghty made an important point about the state of the current debates which offer a compelling case on why it might be time to re-think how the major party nominees engage in a productive dialogue to benefit the voters.

The questions are usually predictable and generic, the answers have usually been focus-group-tested to the point of terminal blandness. As I noted earlier this year, “many voters and members of the media seem to think caring about a problem — or more specifically, appearing to care about a problem — is the same as having a workable plan to solve a problem. They mistake the destination for the path.” The moderators rarely follow up or press hard for details. No one breaks out the calculators to make sure the proposed numbers add up.

The Commission on Presidential Debates keeps the debates this way the because the candidates largely want them to be this way — safe, predictable, barely scratching the surface of complicated problems and complex topics.

While the debate commission offers each campaign some level of stability, its bias has infected the process for a productive one-on-one dialogue. No smart Republican should surrender the autonomy of their campaign to the deceptively objective debate commission in 2024 to organize what are the signature prime time events of every election.


Trump says CSPAN debate ‘was rigged!” Steve Scully admits he lied about his Twitter account hack

Trump says CSPAN debate ‘was rigged!” Steve Scully admits he lied about his Twitter account hack

October 15, 2020

CSPAN suspended its political editor Steve Scully after he cracked under pressure and admitted that he lied about his Twitter account being hacked, after posting a strange Tweet to the shortest serving press secretary – actually 10 days – in President Trump’s administration.

Scully’s Tweet to Anthony Scaramucci, who emerged a never-Trumper after being fired for incompetence by the President in 2017, suggested he was asking for his advice on the debate scheduled with CSPAN.

Trump was the first to call out Scully, after he tried to cover-up his lie that he tweeted the question to Scaramucci by saying his account had been hacked.

Trump said Thursday in a Tweet, “I was right again!”

“Steve Scully just admitted he was lying about his Twitter being hacked,” said Trump. The Debate was Rigged! He was suspended from CSPAN indefinitely. The Trump Campaign was not treated fairly by the ‘Commission.” Did I show good instincts in being the first to know?”

Scully is the host of the Washington Journal. He was selected to moderate the now-canceled town hall event. A tweet sent from his account last week suggested he had reached out to Scaramucci.

Scully issued his first statement Thursday addressing the issue.

“For several weeks, I was subjected to relentless criticism on social media and in conservative news outlets regarding my role as moderator for the second presidential debate, including attacks aimed directly at my family,” Scully wrote in a statement to CNN.

He said “this culminated on Thursday, October 8th when I heard President Trump go on national television twice and falsely attack me by name. Out of frustration, I sent a brief tweet addressed to Anthony Scaramucci. The next morning when I saw that this tweet had created a controversy, I falsely claimed that my Twitter account had been hacked.”

“These were both errors in judgment for which I am totally responsible. I apologize,” Scully said.



Former Debate Moderator Steve Scully Admits He Lied About Being Hacked To Cover For Anti-Trump Collusion

Former Joe Biden intern and C-SPAN host Steve Scully was suspended on Thursday after lying about his Twitter feed being hacked, reports the Associated Press.

In a statement, Scully called his tweet and lie “error in judgment” after blaming his response on the “relentless criticism” he received from “conservative news outlets” and President Donald Trump.

The news of Scully’s suspension comes almost a week after he tagged anti-Trumper Anthony Scaramucci on Twitter asking for advice on whether to “respond to Trump.”

While it is unclear what Scully was referring to, Scaramucci, the former White House communications director who was fired 10 days after his appointment for criticizing the Trump administration, cryptically replied to the message, suggesting “more bad stuff about to go down.”

“Ignore. He is having a hard enough time. Some more bad stuff about to go down,” Scaramucci replied.

Scaramucci expressed his disdain with the decision to suspend Scully, saying it was a “brutal outcome for a silly non political tweet.”

“Nothing objectionable. Cancel culture going too far,” he added.

The Commission on Presidential Debates and others rushed to defend Scully’s tweet, claiming he did not post it.

“He was hacked, it didn’t happen,” commission Co-Chair Frank Fahrenkopf told Brian Kilmeade on “The Brian Kilmeade Show” Friday morning.

C-SPAN also released a statement defending Scully, claiming he “did not originate the tweet and believes his account has been hacked.” The network said the incident is under investigation by authorities.

Despite Scully’s history of working for Joe Biden when he was a senator and Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy, as well as retweeting criticism of the Trump administration, the Commission on Presidential Debates chose him to moderate the second presidential debate in Miami.

The commission, the board of which has an average age of over 71 years old, claims it “does not endorse, support, or oppose political candidates or parties,” but has received backlash from Trump for its biased handling of the 2020 debates and picking Scully as a moderator.

The Thursday debate, however, was canceled due to coronavirus concerns. While the commission attempted to schedule a virtual debate potentially equipped with muting technologies, Trump refused to participate. Trump and Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, will instead use Thursday evening to answer questions at dueling town hall events.


Presidential Debate Chairman: Moderator Was ‘Hacked’ When Asking Scaramucci For Anti-Trump Advice

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) claims that the cryptic Twitter exchange between upcoming presidential debate moderator Steve Scully of C-SPAN and anti-Trump advocate Anthony Scaramucci, in which Scully asked for advice on responding to President Donald Trump, was the product of a hacker.

“He was hacked, it didn’t happen,” CPD Co-Chair Frank Fahrenkopf told Brian Kilmeade on “The Brian Kilmeade Show” Friday morning.

While the CPD claimed that Scully’s account was hacked, Fahrenkopf offered no evidence for this explanation. Additionally, Scaramucci has yet to explain why he responded to a supposedly “hacked” tweet.

The report comes the day after Scully tagged Scaramucci in a now-deleted Twitter post cryptically asking him for advice on whether to “respond to Trump” just days before the next debate was scheduled to be held.

The former White House communications director who was fired 10 days after his appointment for criticizing the Trump administration responded to the tweet, encouraging Scully to “ignore” Trump because “he is having a hard enough time” and “some more bad stuff about to go down.”

Many speculated that the exchange in question looked like a failed attempt at a direct message.

The CPD has also failed to respond to backlash on social media over Scully’s legitimacy as a presidential debate moderator given his history working for Democratic Senators, including Joe Biden himself, as well as his support for criticism of the Trump administration in the past, raising questions about their ability to remain independent and neutral in their search for moderators.

The commission, whose board has an average age of over 71 years old, claims it “does not endorse, support, or oppose political candidates or parties,” but has received backlash from Trump for its biased handling of the 2020 debates and picking Scully as a moderator.

Not only did the commission announce it would be changing the already agreed-upon debate rules following the first presidential debate, but it also announced on Thursday that the second debate on Oct. 15, which was supposed to be moderated by Scully, would be held virtually instead of in Miami.

It is reported that the debate will be postphoned and instead, Biden is now scheduled to partake in an ABC town hall event on Oct. 15 and Trump will be hosting a rally.


W.H. Spox: Scully Tweet Shows He Isn’t Impartial, ‘Calls Into Question’ ‘The Debate Commission’s Judgment’

W.H. Spox: Scully Tweet Shows He Isn’t Impartial, ‘Calls Into Question’ ‘The Debate Commission’s Judgment’

On Thursday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Fox News @ Night,” White House Deputy Communications Director Brian Morgenstern reacted to a tweet from C-SPAN host and planned debate moderator Steve Scully’s account asking Anthony Scaramucci if he should respond to President Donald Trump’s criticisms of Scully by stating that Scully isn’t impartial and “that really calls into question, again, the Debate Commission’s judgment here.”

Morgenstern said, “[I]f anybody’s having a bad week, it’s certainly the Presidential Debate Commission, with the way they’ve handled this. And now, their chosen moderator certainly seems not to be very impartial. The first one — Susan Page, of course, is writing the glowing biography of Speaker Pelosi and now, Mr. Scully, who interned for Joe Biden now colluding…with the Mooch. … I think the cat’s out of the bag. I don’t think Mr. Scully is impartial. So, that really calls into question, again, the Debate Commission’s judgment here.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


Scaramucci: Soon Trump Will ‘Be in the Ash Heap of History’

Friday on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci predicted President Donald Trump would “be in the ash heap of history” after the November election.

Scaramucci said, “We have to heal this country and unify this country, and at some point, we’re going to have to rebuild the Republican party. The party has been hijacked by Trumpism, and it’s sort of funny to watch it, none of these people believe what they’re saying, but they’re incredibly malleable and incredibly intimidated by the president. We have a lot of things we have to do in the country.”

“The first thing is, we have to send president trump home, wherever that is, Mar-a-Lago, Trump Tower, Scotland, we have to make sure on January 21, he’s there so we can heal the country and restore the great institutions of our democracy,” he continued. “Once we do that, whatever happens to Steve Bannon in court, it won’t matter, he’ll be in the ash heap of history alongside of President Trump.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN



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