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Rick Santorum: 'Arbitrary' Fox GOP Debate Rules Not 'Rational'

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By    |   Thursday, 21 May 2015 09:59 PM

Rick Santorum charges Fox News created guidelines for participation in the first Republican presidential candidates' debate that are not only "arbitrary," but unfair to viewers.

Under the guidelines announced Wednesday, only contenders who place in the top 10 in an average of the five most recent national polls are guaranteed a spot on stage Aug. 6.

The former Pennsylvania senator is currently No. 10 in polling, according to a Real Clear Politics average.

Other low-pollers include Ohio Gov. John Kasich; South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham; Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina; and former New York Gov. George Pataki.

"I'm somebody who believes that we should have an inclusive process," Santorum said after a speech at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, The Washington Post reports.

"If you're a United States senator, if you're a governor, if you're a woman who ran a Fortune 500 company and you're running a legitimate campaign for president, then you should have the right to be on the stage with everybody else. ... It's arbitrary. Somebody at 1.15 is in, and somebody at 1.14 is out. That to me is not a rational way."

Fox News should randomly split the GOP field in half and have two debates, he says.

"It's not whether it's fair to the candidates or not," Santorum said, the Post reports. "It has nothing to do with the candidates. It has to do with the American people ... What's fair to them is to see some really sharp people who, at least at this point, are almost decidedly not going to be in unless things change. And that's not a good thing for the process."

He argues national polls aren't definitive, noting he had a low single-digit standing in the national polls in January 2012 — but went on to win the Iowa caucuses, the Post reports.

Santorum also maintained that using poll numbers from early-primary states make more sense.

"I just think it's like saying: 'Is it hot outside? Well, let's go inside and measure temperatures,'" Santorum said, the Post reports.

"That has nothing to do with how hot it is outside. You have to go to the place where the temperature matters. And it matters in the early primary states."

Also Wednesday, CNN announced details of a Sept. 16 debate for GOP contenders, saying the event would be divided into two parts featuring two groups of candidates.

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Rick Santorum charges Fox News created guidelines for participation in the first Republican presidential candidates' debate that are not only "arbitrary," but unfair to viewers.
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Thursday, 21 May 2015 09:59 PM
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