Fox News plans to announce the "Official" list of approved participants in the May 5 First Republican Presidential Debate on Wednesday morning, May 4. In order to field enough candidates for the Debate, Fox News is apparently changing the rules. Initially Fox required the following criteria in order to participate:
-- Must register a presidential exploratory committee or have announced a formal campaign for president; and
-- Must file all necessary paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC); and
-- Must file all necessary paperwork with the South Carolina Republican Party; and
-- Must have paid all federal and South Carolina filing fees; and
-- Must meet all U.S. Constitutional requirements; and
-- Must have garnered at least an average of one percent in five national polls based on most recent polling leading up to April 29th, 2011.
Fox extended the deadline until May 3, because of the lack of candidates who met all of the criteria and were willing to participate. Seven candidates have professed an interest in appearing: Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Buddy Roemer, Gary Johnson, Herman Cain, and Fred Karger. (Karger is an openly gay Republican who has never before sought political office.) Only Pawlenty,Roemer and Paul have filed Exploratory Committees with the FEC. Johnson skipped the exploratory phase and went directly to candidacy. Only Pawlenty, Roemer and Johnson have filed Statements of Candidacy with the FEC. Pawlenty, Paul, and Santorum are the only candidates who actually have met the criterion of having at least 1% in five national Presidential polls, unless you count Johnson based on 1% in 5 consecutive Gallup polls. Roemer, Cain and Karger are often not even listed by pollsters. As of May 1, none of the candidates had paid the South Carolina filing fee of $25,000. Karger offered to pay the fee, but at this point is being excluded from participation based on the 1% poll average rule. Cain said May 2 that he would pay the $25,000 and meet all criteria by the deadline. Apparently Roemer and Cain will be allowed to participate, even though they don't meet the 1% rule. Truth is, Tim Pawlenty is the only candidate who meets all of the Fox News criteria. If Roemer, Johnson, Cain and/or Karger are allowed on stage, the debate will be a total farce. Makes you almost feel sorry for TPaw. Fox should have folded their tents and moved this debate until a later date like Nancy Reagan did with the debate scheduled for May 2 at the Reagan Presidential Library.