ABC News has dropped its partnership with the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper for the Feb. 6 Republican debate, and front-runner Donald Trump is taking credit for the move, Politico
The state's largest newspaper had been set to have a co-branding deal with ABC, though its role was going to be limited and no representative of the paper was to have been onstage asking questions, according to Politico.
Trump tweeted about the move Sunday, saying he had asked ABC to remove the Union Leader from the debate. The paper has endorsed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and has written a front-page editorial comparing Trump to the character Biff from the "Back to the Future" movies.
The debate instead will feature an anchor from ABC affiliate WMUR to join moderators David Muir and Martha Raddatz. The website Independent Journal
also will be involved.
WMUR wasn't allowed to participate in ABC's Democratic debate in December because the Democratic National Committee was unhappy the station was not negotiating with its employees' union.
Union Leader publisher Joseph McQuaid told Politico ABC was bowing to outside pressure.
"We will get over being 'severed,'" McQuaid said in a written statement. "We are amused by ABC apparently just discovering that we write editorials and endorse candidates. We have been doing both for decades and it hasn't been an issue for ABC or anyone else.
"Between bowing to the DNC and Trump, ABC is more concerned about appeasing the parties and candidates than informing voters," he said. "The Union Leader will continue to serve Granite Staters by being a reliable source of information about where candidates stand."
Trump responded to that response on Twitter as well.
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