Hunter and Paul Excluded From Debate

Presidential candidates Duncan Hunter and Ron Paul have been excluded from a Fox News GOP “presidential candidates forum” in New Hampshire on January 6, just two days before the primary.

The network says that due to limited space (filming will take place in a mobile studio a.k.a. a bus) they can only invite 5 candidates. Those asked to participate are Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee.

AP reports that Fox based their decision by candidates who had received double digit support in recent polls. Ron Paul supporters have risen in a fit of “that’s not fair” fury.

A press release from Paul’s campaign countered that “given Ron Paul’s support in New Hampshire and his recent historic fundraising success, it is outrageous that Dr. Paul would be excluded.”

“Dr. Paul has consistently polled higher in New Hampshire than some of the other candidates who have been invited,” said Paul’s campaign chairman Kent Snyder.
Paul supporters initially blamed the New Hampshire GOP prompting New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman, Fergus Cullen to release a statement that called “upon all media organizations planning pre-primary debates or forums for both parties to include all recognized major candidates in their events.”

“The New Hampshire Republican Party has notified FOX News of our position, and we are in ongoing discussions with FOX News about having as many candidates as possible participate in the forum scheduled for January 6,” said Cullen.

Paul’s campaign says they will continue to make inquires with Fox News as to why they have been excluded from the event.

The blogosphere — a place where Paul is notoriously popular — has blown up with support for Paul and condemnation of Fox News.

Several comments around the web tout that Fox News is “scared of Ron Paul” and many threaten to boycott the network.

Even well known conservative bloggers such as Ed Morrissey of Captains Quarters have weighed in on the controversy siding with Paul. “If Fox wants to rely on polling, Paul does at least as well as Thompson in Iowa and perhaps better at the moment in New Hampshire,” said Morrissey.

Other pundits argue that Paul’s fundraising successes alone should qualify him for the debate.

So far, Fox News has not given in to the Paul Campaign. Jesse Benton Paul’s Spokesman has said it was a “big mistake” not to include his candidate in the forum in New Hampshire but reports that Paul has been invited to a GOP forum sponsored by Fox in South Carolina, Jan 10.