Republican presidential candidates took a time-out from their separate campaign activities to meet and hash out a list of demands for upcoming televised debates.
The get-together was in response to the CNBC debate, seen by candidates and watchers alike as biased and filled with “gotcha” questions.
Specifically, they wanted a two-hour time limit on future debates; mandatory 30-second opening and closing statements; equal speaking time for all the candidates; and editorial control over the graphics, Fox News reported.
The chairman of the Republican National Committee has already suspended its relationship with NBC. But the GOP’s presidential candidates want to autonomy from the RNC and have taken the unusal step of wresting control of the debates and compiling a list of demands so they can negotiate directly with network chiefs about the terms of upcoming events.
The strategy session was hosted by Ben Carson’s campaign. And according to those in attendance, the gathering was more like a meeting of old friends.
“We hadn’t seen each other in a while. It was amazing,” said Carson’s campaign manager. Barry Bennett, to Fox News. “It was very friendly. We have our own personal strategies. But we also realize somebody in the room is going to be the nominee.”
One other demand involves the temperature of the debate forum, which candidates want it kept below 67 degrees.
The event, code named “family dinner,” was held at the Hilton Alexandria Old Town around 5:30 p.m. Sunday, the Washington Post reported.
Those in attendance also agreed any changes or demands would not be implemented until after next week’s Fox Business Network debate. Why?
“People are afraid to make Roger [Ailes, Fox News chief] mad,” one source at the meeting told the Washington Post.
Carly Fiorina wasn’t at the event.
She said, in an interview on Fox News: “Logistically, we just couldn’t work it through.”