Former Minnesota Governor and GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty says the oft-criticized multitude of presidential debates “were actually helpful.”
He tells Newsmax: “They get a little tedious for some because there’s so many and there’s a lot of candidates early on, but if you don’t have a billion dollars and you’re not well known it’s one of the few ways that you can get some exposure and some access if you’re a modestly-funded candidate from a small state.
“If you begin to shrink those kinds of opportunities, either in terms of frequency or magnitude, then basically you’re going to have people who are either celebrities or wealthy or going to raise a ton of money early dominate the debate or dominate the dialogue. I’m not sure that’s healthy.”
Responding to assertions that the debates made some GOP candidates move too far to the right, Pawlenty says: “I don’t think it’s so much the debates as it is the debates were a bellwether of people trying to gain market share within a party.
“So it really goes to the issue not so much of the debates but to the issue of the state of the party. And of course the Republican Party has a lot of work to do and room for improvement. It needs to do better with women and Hispanic voters and what I call Sam’s Club or Costco voters, particularly in areas that are in swing states but as a country as a whole.”
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