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CNN Amends Debate Criteria To Let Fiorina In

After defending their 'irrevocable' decision to shape the debate, they decided to revoke it.

Huzzah? Carly Fiorina will likely make it into the top tier of the CNN debate on September 16 after they amended their rules.

"CNN reevaluated its criteria and decided to add a provision that better reflects the state of the race since the first Republican presidential debate in August," the network announced. "Now, any candidate who ranks in the top 10 in polling between August 6 and September 10 will be included."

The CNN move is being greeted as a positive development, and not only for the most obvious reason, which is that a woman will be in the mix, in contrast to the 10-man tableau that a huge national television audience saw at the first debate on Aug. 6 in Cleveland.

Fiorina also had fairness on her side, say supporters. The original rules would have made the cut according to an average of polls conducted between July 16 and Sept. 10. That arithmetic minimized the significant rise in Fiorina's numbers since she gave what was widely reviewed as the single best performance of the evening in Cleveland, despite being relegated to the earlier, non-prime-time "undercard" debate of longshot contenders.

Rachel Maddow went on a tear about it tonight, which I don't really understand, given that she's been ranting about Fiorina's exclusion for the past week or so. You can watch the (rather long) video above, where she seems to be pleased that Fiorina gets in, but displeased that all Clown Car inhabitants aren't included.

You just can't please anyone these days.

edit: Mark Preston of CNN explains the rationale for changing the criteria.


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