Carly Fiorina looks to be the beneficiary of a change in debate rules proposed by CNN for its Sept. 16 event at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California.
The former Hewlett-Packard CEO complained that CNN's previous rule — which said only the top 10 GOP candidates in polls from July 16 to Sept. 10 would be invited — did not capture the current state of the Republican race, USA Today's On Politics blog reported.
On Wednesday, the news network gave in, stating that it would now include the top 10 candidates from an average of national polls taken after the first Republican debate on Aug. 6 through Sept. 10. Fiorina has surged in the polls since then based on her performance in a second-tier debate, meaning she could stand to benefit from the new rule.
"In the event that any candidate is polling in the top 10 in an average of approved national polls released between Aug. 7 and September 10, we will add those candidates to our top tier debate, even if those candidates did not poll in the top 10 in an average of approved national polls between July 16 and Sept. 10," CNN said in a statement, not mentioning Fiorina by name or her protest.
"We have discussed these changes with the Republican National Committee and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, and they are fully supportive."
Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, told CNN that he endorsed the change to expand the number of candidates participating in the second segment of the debate if they qualify.
"I applaud CNN for recognizing the historic nature of this debate and fully support the network's decision to amend their criteria," he said.
Fiorina pushed back against the idea that the rule change was an "affirmative action" move meant to add a woman to the Sept. 16 debate, Politico reported
"I've earned this place," Fiorina told radio show host Laura Ingraham on Wednesday. "The point is, the thumb on the scale occurred because this year unlike previous presidential cycles, there were virtually no polls between Aug. 6 and Sept. 10."
Politico said Fiorina also dismissed the thought that she is only running in an attempt to position herself as a potential vice president pick.
"That's sexist," she said. "I think I earned my place on the debate stage, I think I'll earn the nomination and I think I'm qualified to do the job."
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