After CNN announced Wednesday it would put on two Republican presidential primary debates, one of the venues was reportedly unaware it would be hosting the event, according to The Associated Press (AP).
CNN plans to host two Republican presidential primary debates, one on Jan. 10 at Drake University in Iowa and the other on Jan. 21 at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire, according to a Thursday announcement from the station. Neil Levesque, executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm, told The AP he was not aware of any planning of the event with CNN.
“I have no idea about anything with any other network,” Levesque told the outlet, referring to the debate with CNN.
ABC News announced Thursday it would be hosting a debate with WMUR-TV, a local station, at St. Anselm College on Jan. 18, three days before CNN is set to hold their debate at the institution.
“CNN is inept,” a source familiar with the situation told the NH Journal following the network’s announcement.
— Neil Levesque (@NeilLevesque) December 7, 2023
“We can’t speak to any miscommunication within Saint Anselm, but we are moving forward with our plans to host a debate in New Hampshire on January 21,” a CNN spokesperson told the Daily Caller.
CNN included in their announcement regarding the Republican presidential primary debates the Republican National Committee (RNC) was expected to lift its rule that blocks candidates from participating in non-RNC-sanctioned events, a move that would allow the 2024 candidates to attend the event. The RNC previously threatened candidates who wanted to participate in a “Thanksgiving Family Forum” in Iowa. The RNC considered the event a non-sanctioned debate, but after pushback allowed candidates to attend. (RELATED: Republicans Hope Fourth RNC Debate With Conservative Hosts, Moderators Will Deliver For Base Voters)
“The Republican National Committee is expected to announce this week it will release candidates from its requirement that prevents them from participating in non-RNC-sanctioned debates,” a CNN spokesperson told the Daily Caller.
However, late Friday the RNC announced it is bowing out of the 2024 debate process after its first four showings. With no further RNC debates planned, CNN, ABC and any other networks are free to host candidate forums and debates going forward.
The RNC cited the wishes of the candidates in making its decision, noting that three of the four participants in the fourth debate (Nikki Haley being the exception) had requested additional flexibility in addressing voters.
The RNC’s debate committee had previously exercised strict control over which networks and organizations could be involved in debates, limiting the host networks to Fox, NewsNation and NBC News despite previous promises to use the debates to grow conservative media more broadly.
Watch some of the top moments from this week’s fiery RNC debate here:
‘Most Obnoxious Blowhard In America’: Christie And Vivek Erupt As Debate Goes Off The Rails
‘Puppet Masters’: Vivek Slams Crowd At Debate After Drowning In Boos During Attack
Vivek Holds Up Debate Notes Containing Just Two Words For Whole Crowd To See