Debate over debates: US Republicans seek end to disarray

The latest primary debate had infuriated some candidates and their handlers.

AFP| Updated: Nov 04, 2015, 10:22 AM IST
Debate over debates: US Republicans seek end to disarray

Washington: Republicans, who warned after the 2012 US elections that too many primary debates lead to chaos, appear to be replaying that scenario as campaigns clash with networks over debate formats.

The Republican primary debate broadcast last Wednesday on CNBC infuriated some candidates and their handlers, who accused moderators of interrupting candidates and bias against conservatives.

Since then, several campaigns have staged a revolt against the networks that will host the remaining debates, seeking to impose a more favorable format.

After campaign operatives huddled behind closed doors Sunday, the candidates settled on a long list of demands in a letter to the networks, which was obtained by the Washington Post.

They included a requirement of a 30-second minimum for opening statements; a ban on "lightning rounds" that deny a candidate opportunity to expand an answer; candidate pre-approval of biographical data in screen graphics; and a pledge that debate hall temperatures be kept below 67 degrees (19 degrees Celsius).

They also sought to avoid "gotcha" questions, as well as candidate-to-candidate questioning.