There has been a battle between CNBC and the Republican candidates slated to appear on stage at the next Republican debate on October 28. At odds is CNBC’s desire to do away with candidate opening and closing statements, as well as a lack of clarity about the length of the debate. So far, at least two GOP hopefuls have threatened to skip the event if CNBC does not make some concessions.


Report from the New York Times:

An aide to Donald J. Trump has raised the possibility of the candidate not attending the next Republican presidential debate unless the criteria set by CNBC is changed, according to two people briefed on a conference call where the matter was discussed on Thursday.

Several campaigns are unhappy with the criteria that has been set by CNBC, including the lack of opening and closing statements, and, as of now, the lack of a set length of time for the Oct. 28 debate at the Coors Events Center in Boulder, Colo., according to those briefed.

The concerns were aired in an initial conference call held on Wednesday that was reported by Politico. Aides to Ben Carson and Senator Rand Paul expressed unhappiness on that call, as did representatives of other campaigns.

So in a follow-up call held on Thursday, aides to Senator Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee joined in seeking to clarify the rules. And Corey Lewandowski, the campaign manager for Mr. Trump, raised the possibility that the candidate may not attend if the criteria isn’t changed, the people briefed on the call said.

Mr. Lewandowski, in an interview, said: “The criteria that was outlined by CNBC was never discussed with any of the candidates or the campaigns. So what CNBC did was send out a memo and said, ‘Here’s the criteria as you have approved them and that went out to all the campaigns. We said we never agreed to this criteria.’”

I highly doubt it will come down to any candidate opting out of the debate, CNBC wouldn’t let that happen. The question of whether it is helpful for voters to hear candidate opening and closing statements is probably debatable (see what I did there?), but I’m not sure it warrants a boycott. From a candidate perspective, however, a few uninterrupted minutes looking into the camera can make a campaign explode onto the scene, just as Ben Carson.

I imagine within the next 48 hours we’ll have some resolution here and an agreement will be reached. The other nuance here is that CNBC, as a network, is much smaller than the larger news organizations like CNN or Fox News, so they won’t hold out long if there’s a chance they lose their time in the spotlight.


CNBC has agreed to a two-hour limit for the debate. The question of opening and closing statements is still being discussed.