Skip to comments.The Rigged Debates- Commission on Presidential Debates systematically screws over Republicans
Posted on 10/14/2016 7:56:25 AM PDT by SJackson
After three decades of political atrocities perpetrated against Republicans it is clear that the allegedly neutral Commission on Presidential Debates is irredeemably corrupt.
No one knows this better than GOP candidate Donald Trump who has been abused and undermined by the commissions corrupt practices and unfair policies in both debates so far. It is no coincidence that the commission itself is filled with Hillary Clinton supporters and anti-Trump Republicans.
First there was moderator Lester Holts prosecutor-style approach to interacting with Trump at the first debate, asking ideologically loaded questions that conformed to the Lefts agenda, cutting him off repeatedly, and arguing with him, while treating Democrat Hillary Clinton with kid gloves. In the second debate moderators Martha Raddatz and Anderson Cooper tag-teamed Trump with some success.
Trump attacked the commission during a Wednesday campaign rally in Ocala, Florida. His speech served as a desperately needed reminder that it is well past time to drive a stake through the heart of this powerful tool of the nations political establishment whose Washington, D.C. headquarters, quite appropriately, is mere blocks from K Street, the public thoroughfare synonymous with lobbying and the corruption that so often accompanies it.
Conservatives hardly need to be reminded how roughly and unfairly the commission-selected debate moderators have treated Republican candidates over the years.
The most infamous incident at the debates in decades took place at the debate between President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney in 2012 that was moderated by Candy Crowley. Republicans looked on in stunned disbelief and horror when Crowley fact-checked a claim Romney made about Obama and got it wrong, thus unfairly negating Romneys attack.
Many people including this writer believe Romney was set up by the Obama campaign and Crowley, perhaps with the connivance of the commission.
Romney said, I want to make sure we get that for the record, because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.
Obama looked at Crowley and said in a self-satisfied way: Get the transcript.
Its not clear that there was a transcript present, but Crowley addressed Romney, saying, He did, in fact, sir. So let me call it an act of terror in the Rose Garden. He used the word
Ever the grandstanding showman, Obama jumped in, saying to applause from the audience, Can you say that a little louder, Candy?
He did call it an act of terror, Crowley said. It did, as well, takeit did, as well, take two weeks or so for the whole idea of there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct about that.
But Crowley was not correct about what Obama said in the Rose Garden. She lied to help the Obama campaign.
In fact in the remarks Obama made in the Rose Garden the day after the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, the president did not label Benghazi a terrorist attack. He said no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, but it was in a passage of his speech about the original 9/11 attacks in 2001.
Crowley's stunt should have been a firing offense but nothing happened to her and shes still at CNN.
Quite understandably, conservative activists have been begging the Republican National Committee for years to abandon the commission or at least put its foot down and insist on balanced, impartial moderators. But after every election people forget, the pressure gets dialed down, and nothing happens.
Recalling the Sept. 26 matchup with Democrat Hillary Clinton, Trump said the biggest thing that came out of the debate, in my opinion and it really came out of the first debate, which if I didnt have a fixed microphone or a broken microphone nobodys been able to tell me but I watched.
Couldnt talk very good because my mic didnt work. But I watched, and I said, you know, its interesting. Hillary says shes gonna do this and this and this and this, but shes been there for 30 years. She never did it.
Then he went after commission co-chairman Mike McCurry, who was Bill Clintons White House press secretary.
And I said to her in the second debate I said let me ask you a question. Let me and by the way, you know that so-called Commission on Presidential Debates? The head guy used to work for Bill Clinton, Trump said.
Did you know that? I just found that out, he said. The head guy worked for Bill Clinton. Aye yai yai. What a rigged deal this is.
The other current co-chairman is also a longtime partisan political operator.
His name is Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., a high powered lobbyist whose first loyalty is to the almighty dollar. This gun-for-hire was RNC chairman and president of the American Gaming Association where he was credited with opening up new frontiers for commercial casinos throughout the country. Like President Obama, he has labeled his critics enemies.
Fahrenkopf told CNBC in August that Trumps claim that the debate schedule was rigged may have backfired and helped the commission.
"In a way, the Trump attack helped us in meeting the argument that the third parties have had in their lawsuits against us for the last 20 years ... that we are controlled by the [major] parties," he said. "This clearly showed we are not controlled by the parties."
But Trump may have been on to something yuge when he complained about the debate schedule.
As Dick Morris noted at the time, the commissions decision to hold two of the debates on nights that conflict with high profile NFL games and its stubborn refusal to consider rescheduling raises the question of pro-Hillary/anti-Trump bias on the Commission.
By deliberately setting the debate dates opposite highly popular football games, the Commission seems to be angling to cut the viewership of white males, a key voting group generally supporting Trump, in a bid to reduce their interest in the election.
The co-chairman emeritus is Paul G. Kirk Jr., a former DNC chairman. Kirk was appointed senator from Massachusetts to complete the late Ted Kennedys term. Kirk co-founded the commission, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, with Fahrenkopf in 1987.
Trump said he has zero respect for the commission, which only sounds good.
Give me a break, he continued. Thats why I was so happy what we did to annihilate the enemy the other day. So happy. Because were dealing against a very dishonest system.
There is proof that the commission rigged the two presidential debates that have taken place so far, along with the vice presidential debate.
Clinton, who is short, demanded a step-stool at the podium for the first debate so she wouldnt be dwarfed by the much taller Trump. The commission denied her request but boosted her in another way. It allowed a custom-made podium to be used to make her look taller.
This may seem like a minor matter but it shows the commissions willingness to distort reality. Call it affirmative action for short people.
Then there were Trumps complaints about a malfunctioning microphone in the first debate. The commission admitted afterwards that he was right. Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trumps audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall, it acknowledged in a brief statement conspicuously lacking in details.
And what about the mysterious middle-aged man who popped up on the stage immediately after the first debate concluded? He grabbed papers from Hillarys lectern and handed them to moderator Lester Holt. What was in those papers? There may be an innocent explanation for this but if so it doesnt appear to have surfaced.
Holt, allegedly a registered Republican, was a terrible moderator. Essentially Holt and Hillary worked as a tag team beating Trump up. Holt treated Clinton gently but argued with Trump over and over again in a series of intense voir dires.
Paul Mirengoff argues Holts performance was a nakedly biased effort to aid Hillary Clinton.
The mischief began with the very first question. Holt proclaimed the state of the economy good, complained about inequality, and wanted to know what the candidates will do about it.
The question stated the premise of Hillary Clintons campaign: that President Obama has fixed the economy as a general matter but inequality remains (thus, of course, requiring the federal government to gain more power and enact more liberal policies). If the Clinton campaign had written the first question about the economy, it likely would have come up with this question.
Trump, of course, denies that the economy is doing well and contends that the squeeze on the middle class, not inequality, is our central problem. Holt, as was to be expected, took Clintons side before either candidate had even spoken.
Trump put in a very strong performance in the second debate Oct. 9 even though both of the moderators were obviously biased against him.
As Dan Gainor opines at the Fox News website,
Sunday nights moderators Anderson Cooper, from CNN, and Martha Raddatz, from ABC, virtually took the field wearing blue jerseys with Im with her on the back. Just as in baseball, candidates and moderators certainly used their bats. [ ]
Cooper started the fireworks on the second question with four follow-up questions attempting to skewer Trump on the latest video controversy about offensive things he said on an open mic. That set the tone for the evening and it wasnt a neutral one. The interruptions were bad. The outright speaking for Clinton was worse.
Raddatz is the moderator who screwed up the 2012 veep debate, allowing Joe Biden to turn the event into a monologue. Raddatz has no business being anywhere near a debate stage because she has strong ties to the Left. Barack Obama attended her wedding to her now ex-husband Julius Genachowski. Genachowski was the controversial chairman of the Federal Communications Commission from June 2009 to May 2013.
For the second debate this cycle the commission refused to allow Trump to seat four women Paula Jones, Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, and Kathy Shelton all of whom have accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct, in Trumps box in Hillarys line of site from the stage. Co-chairman Fahrenkopf informed the Trump campaign that if the women sat there, they would be removed from the box by security guards. I will get security and yank them out of there, he reportedly said.
Fahrenkopf insisted the agreement between the commission and the two campaigns that laid the foundation for the series of debates this year provided that only the candidates family members could sit in their respective four-seat boxes.
Trumps campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, disputed Fahrenkopfs statement. She told CBS News on Monday that she had no idea why Fahrenkopf refused to let the women sit where Trump wanted them.
I was surprised that they thwarted that, only because it did not say family box, it said V.I.P. box, Conway said. These women want to be heard.
Even if it was a publicity stunt, why shouldnt Trump have been allowed to choose who sat there? The Clinton campaign put prominent supporter and Trump tormenter Mark Cuban in the front row in the first debate after he claimed his presence would intimidate Trump.
Apparently nobody raised an eyebrow at the commission over Cubans seating.
Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani said after the debate Sunday it was unfair for the commission to let Cuban sit in the front row while denying Bill Clintons accusers seats in the Trump box.
Giuliani accused Fahrenkopf of double-dealing.
In the first debate with Mark Cuban, Fahrenkopf said well make a deal and everybody will [be able] to approve whos in the shot, and if its not family, they have a right to object and we have a right to object, Trumps most high-profile surrogate said. So we object. But 10 minutes before that debate, he tells us he cant do anything about Cuban sitting in the first row, that security cant throw him out.
Americans today are completely unaware that the Commission on Presidential Debates is not an instrument of democracy. It is a tool of the ruling elites of both major political parties who do not want change in America. The commission enforces the status quo and attempts every election cycle to delegitimize candidates who want positive change in the country. It is run by and totally dominated by the political establishment. Green Party strategist Kevin Zeese suggested to LifeZette that this was Hillarys doing. Hillary Clinton has done a really good job of uniting the two parties, he said. Its almost like one party.
The commissions executive director, Janet H. Brown, was an appointee of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a notoriously ideologically squishy Republican. RINO Bush whose extravagantly funded run for the GOP nod flamed out spectacularly, is an advocate for open-borders, immigration amnesty, and Common Core.
And the commissions board is no better. There isnt a single person there who can credibly be called a conservative.
Some board members have contributed to the Clinton campaign; not one has donated to the Trump campaign.
As Vincent Gioia writes at American Thinker, pointing out the commission is nonpartisan ignores the elephant in the room.
Its true that there is a division of Republicans and Democrats, or their supporters, on the commission but the reality is that there is not a conservative among them and virtually all represent the establishment of the respective political parties. Although this is not a problem for Hillary Clinton, a Democratic establishment figure herself, but a full cadre of Republican establishment commission members on the commission is not only a slap in the face of the anti-establishment Donald Trump, but a precursor of what can be expected in this and future presidential debates.
Dont take Gioias word for it. Lets take a look at the commissions board members:
Howard G. Buffett, a moderate Republican, was a County Commissioner of Douglas County, Nebraska. A philanthropist, he is the son of left-wing billionaire Warren Buffett who is an outspoken Hillary Clinton supporter.
John C. Danforth, a hardcore #NeverTrump Republican, is the moderate former senator from Missouri. He said of Trump, theres an audience for this self-proclaimed great man, and for the anger and hatefulness that he expresses.
Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. is a former Republican governor of Indiana. Although he was a Reagan conservative, conservative activists have accused him of drifting to the middle. He is now president of Purdue University where in a Chris-Christie-hugs-President-Obama moment he emceed a Sept. 13 appearance on campus by Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson.
Charles Gibson, a left-wing former ABC World News anchor, is a huge Obamacare supporter. He famously skewered Sarah Palin in an interview.
John Griffen is a hedge fund manager who has donated to Trump-haters President Obama and Mitt Romney.
Jane Harman, a left-wing former Democrat congresswoman from California, scolded Trump in August. After Trump said he didnt trust the intelligence community, Harman said such attacks are not just counter-productive and reckless, they are downright dangerous.
Antonia Hernandez, president and CEO of the left-wing California Community Foundation, was also president and general counsel of the far-left Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). She is a Hillary Clinton donor. No board members have donated to the Trump campaign.
The Rev. John I. Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, is a confirmed Trump hater. After Trump launched his campaign last year with a speech denouncing the illegal flow of Mexican criminals over the nations southern border, Jenkins said such vitriol was churlish, insulting political theater.
Jim Lehrer is a retired left-wing journalist who was news anchor at PBS.
Newton N. Minow is a former Democrat chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. He called the GOP primary debates last year terrible.
Richard D. Parsons is a left-wing Republican, former chairman of Time Warner and Citigroup, and current chairman of the leftist Rockefeller Foundation. He was also counsel for Nelson Rockefeller and a senior White House aide under President Gerald Ford. Parsons said he never saw Trump as presidential timber and that while he didnt support Hillary when she ran for senator she ended up being a good senator. This election cycle Parsons gave $2,700 to the Clinton campaign and $2,700 to Jeb Bushs ill-fated campaign.
Dorothy S. Ridings is a journalism professor and executive at media company Knight Ridder and former president and CEO of the Council on Foundations. She was president of the left-wing League of Women Voters of the United States the previous sponsor of the presidential debate series from 1982 through 1986. She was a trustee of the extreme-left Ford Foundation.
Olympia Snowe is a left-wing former Republican senator from Maine. She is no fan of Trump. His campaign absolutely is hurting our brand, Snowe said a few months ago. The question is how we unravel going forward. I fear the effects could be long-lasting. Its tragic.
Shirley M. Tilghman was director of policy and planning at the Department of State under then-Secretary Hillary Clinton. She is now president emerita of Princeton University. She appears in a Clinton campaign video titled Hillary Fan and reportedly praised the Democrat in speeches at Princeton.
With this kind of establishment firepower in place at the commission, somebody like Donald Trump could never ever expect to be treated fairly.
These people think of Trump as the New York City version of trailer trash. Hes a brash, ill-mannered outsider who doesnt follow the rules of polite society and doesnt know when to keep his big mouth shut.
The Commission on Presidential Debates exists to stigmatize and knee-cap candidates like Donald Trump who are serious about overthrowing their betters.
If Trump becomes president, one of his first priorities should be to burn the commission to the ground.
-if I was doing it the "moderators" would be Rush, Bill O'Reilly and Mark Davis----
It should happen regardless who wins.
At the very least the GOP needs to refuse to any debates with ANY moderators. All there should be is a timekeeper who cuts off the mike after a certain point. If unmoderated debates were good enough for Lincoln/Douglas they are good enough now.
After this election no reputable candidate should ever again acquiesce to taking part in a “debate” sponsored by this commission.
There is a large part of me that wants Trump to give the commission and the TV networks the middle finger and skip the 3rd debate, but I wonder if that will cause more issues for his campaign than help it.
Thats why we have to pick our moderators and invite the bed wetting liberal to the debate
If Trump loses the GOP is dead along with the country
Why is there a “Commission on Presidential Debates” in the first place?
What Constitutional or other authority exists for there to be such a thing? I presume it was not created by State Legislatures, the only bodies with even a shred of authority over the choosing of electors.
People are surprised by this?
The media has its head so far up Hillary’s A$$ they can see her tonsils!
To control the outcome of course.
The whole idea of a moderator who asks “secret” questions is a rig on it’s face.
Debates are about an issue or a question that is posed beforehand, and the debaters respond and cross question.
If I had my way,
If I had my way,
If I had my way I would tear this old building down.
— Rev Gary Davis
I would be incredibly disappointed if President Trump consents to debate his opponent in 2020. He should refuse, citing the absolute bias of the Commission, and further indicate that he, unlike the traditional Party leadership, isn’t stupid enough to walk into a trap like that a 2nd time (or an 8th time, like the RINO idiots have done).
Regarding the Sunday debate, he needs to challenge/warn Chris Wallace very early in the debate about bias. Maybe it’ll hold off some of the worst stuff, but it will at least put 80 million people on notice about it.
Yeah the debates are as honestly run as ‘21’ was.
He doesn't need to burn it to the ground. All he has to do is refuse to participate.
The Republicans should run their own primary debates in a neutral way. No moderators, simply a timer in clear view on the podium. When the time is up, the microphone shuts off.
When a candidate finishes their answer, they press a button. If they have time remaining, it is "banked" for the next answer, if they want to use it.
While a candidate is speaking, all other microphones are off. If a candidate still tries to interrupt, he forfeits his next turn to speak.
Questions are submitted by the respective campaigns. Questions must be worded so that every candidate can answer: no more "gotcha" questions. Questions will be actual questions, not a position statement disguised as a question.
Questions will be recorded by a voice actor, then chosen at random when the moderator presses a button to play the question.
When there are more than 2 candidates on the stage, each candidate will be given an opportunity to answer it, with no rebuttals. Once there are only two candidates, once a candidate answers the question, the other candidate will get a half-time rebuttal. (i.e. if answer time is 2 minutes, the rebuttal is limited to 1 minute).
This gets rid of biased moderators altogether, and there's no opportunity to steer the debate in favor of a particular candidate.
If the Republicans run their debates like this, they can then say: we will participate in this kind of debate. The other parties are welcome to participate. We won't be doing any others.
The first debate should include all parties on enough ballots to win the electoral college. After that, it can be reduced to the major party candidates, if the others aren't gathering enough support to be viable.
The first televised presidential debates were held between Nixon and Kennedy during the 1960 election. No general election debates were held in 1964, and Richard Nixon refused to participate in debates in 1968 and 1972. Beginning with the 1976 election, the League of Women Voters sponsored the televised FordCarter debates, followed by the AndersonReagan and ReaganCarter debates for the 1980 election, followed by ReaganMondale in 1984.
After studying the election process in 1985, the bipartisan National Commission on Elections recommended "[t]urning over the sponsorship of Presidential debates to the two major parties". The CPD was established in 1987 by the chairmen of the Democratic and Republican Parties to "take control of the Presidential debates". The commission was staffed by members from the two parties and chaired by the heads of the Democratic and Republican parties, Paul G. Kirk and Frank Fahrenkopf. At a 1987 press conference announcing the commission's creation, Fahrenkopf said that the commission was not likely to include third-party candidates in debates, and Kirk said he personally believed they should be excluded from the debates.
In 1988, the League of Women Voters withdrew its sponsorship of the presidential debates after the George H. W. Bush and Michael Dukakis campaigns secretly agreed to a "memorandum of understanding" that would decide which candidates could participate in the debates, which individuals would be panelists (and therefore able to ask questions), and the height of the lecterns. The League rejected the demands and released a statement saying that they were withdrawing support for the debates because "the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter."
The Democratic Party is the great white shark; establishment Republicans are the remoras attached to the shark and feeding off the crumbs the shark leaves.
The Democratic Party is the great white shark; establishment Republicans are the remoras attached to the shark and feeding off the crumbs the shark leaves.
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