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Citizens United President: RNC May Circumvent Networks If Debate Reforms Are Not Adopted

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An RNC sign glows outside the Charlotte Convention Center’s Richardson Ballroom in Charlotte, N.C., August 24, 2020. (Travis Dove/Reuters)

The Republican National Committee (RNC) would consider cutting out major television networks unless reforms to the presidential debate process are adopted, Citizens United President David Bossie said Friday.

“We don’t need to count on just the networks,” Bossie said during radio bit with conservative host Hugh Hewitt. “There are so many opportunities out there, so many platforms out there that we can go to and partner with to get the message out.”

He mentioned that while the RNC is still mapping out debate planning for the 2024 election cycle, the Republican party is looking into potentially structuring its primary debates differently. During the interview, he noted that Republicans have complained and grown weary of seemingly biased moderators controlling the direction, tone, and narrative in favor of certain participants during past debates.

Fox News commentator Chris Wallace received criticism from Republicans for his performance as moderator during the first presidential debate, which featured incumbent President Trump and then Democratic candidate Joe Biden. Those dissatisfied with the way he conducted the event accused him of throwing hard-ball questions at the former president and providing too much leeway to the Democratic front-runner.

Bossie is helping lead the RNC debate reform initiative, and suggested that he wants to avoid recruiting moderators that aren’t neutral and balanced.

“We have to not allow bad actors to infiltrate our debate process,” he said, referring to “moderators who aren’t really trying to ask questions to make the candidates front and center.”

“They’re asking questions really not to impact primary Republican voters, but to have ‘gotcha’ questions and answers for the general election debate, because they all want to see their question and answer played during the general election,” he continued.

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