Priebus: Grassroots Republicans Excited About Debate Talk

Thursday, 08 Aug 2013 12:11 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said grassroots members of his own party wonder why he hasn't exerted control over presidential debates until now.

"They're very excited about the fact I'm talking about this. They think it's about time," Priebus said Thursday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"If anyone's being critical, there are some folks in the grassroots saying, 'What took you so long to actually take control over these moderators?'"

Story continues below video.





In letters Monday, Priebus told NBC and CNN that the RNC would not partner with either network in upcoming presidential debates if they air planned specials about Hillary Clinton.

NBC is planning a four-hour miniseries about the former first lady, while CNN has commissioned a documentary.

Clinton is widely assumed to be planning a presidential bid in 2016.

"This is actually the first time that our party's going to be able to set a debate calendar, and then hold our candidates to the debate calendar that we make," Priebus said on "Morning Joe."

"The fact is, our party never really had control over the actual rule-making authority on these debates. Now we do," he said.

The RNC chairman called it "ridiculous" to have NBC commentators preside over a presidential debate if the network moves forward with the Clinton mini-series.

"Whether it be NBC Entertainment or whoever's making the decision, I cannot have companies in the business of making what I consider to be promotional movies about the life of Hillary Clinton, when at the same time, we know that her people are gearing up for a presidential run," Priebus said.

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