Fox Business Network has just announced that the main stage debate will only feature 7 candidates, and that Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina did not make the cut. The Fox Business network has announced that it has extended invitations to an undercard debate to both candidates. Kudos to Rand Paul for telling the network where to shove it, although his protestations ring a bit hollow:

Rand Paul’s campaign tells ABC News that he will not participate in the debate. “By any reasonable criteria, Senator Paul has a top tier campaign,” his campaign said in a statement Monday night. “He will not let the media decide the tiers of this race and will instead take his message directly to the voters of New Hampshire and Iowa.”

By any reasonable criteria, Paul has flatlined in the polls and is running out of cash, and belongs on a stage with Mike Huckabee, if at all. Further, he is the only candidate thus far to be the beneficiary of the media essentially cheating in his favor, as they have allowed him on stage for debates that he did not qualify for, per the objective criteria. So the “poor me, the media is picking on me” routine does not really resonate.

Sadly, both Huckabee and Santorum have accepted invites to an undercard debate. No word yet on whether Fiorina will accept the invite. One hopes that she does not, so that Fox Business will be forced to accept the reality that an hour long debate featuring only Huckabee and Santorum is untenable, and will just cancel the thing. No one really wants to see this crapshow anyway.