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Jewish World Review
Feb. 5, 2013/ 25 Shevat, 5773
GOP aims to ease bloodshed in 2016 primary debates
"While we were playing footsie debating each other 22 times, they were spending $100 million on technology," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said recently, referring to his party's rigorous debate schedule in the 2012 GOP presidential primary season. The last campaign, many Republican insiders said during a recent RNC meeting, had too many debates, the result of which was a GOP arguing with itself while Democrats prepared the way for Barack Obama's victory.
There's no doubt the Republican debates produced many damaging moments for the party. There was Mitt Romney's $10,000 bet offer, which helped cement his image as an out-of-touch rich guy. There were any number of gaffes from Rick Perry, culminating in Perry's painful-to-watch "Oops" moment. There was Michele Bachmann's HPV vaccine blunder. There were bare-knuckle fights over immigration. And there was warfare between Romney and Newt Gingrich, in which Gingrich prevailed in South Carolina only to be flattened by Romney in Florida. By the end, there was a lot of blood on the floor.
Now a panel of GOP veterans appointed by Priebus is studying what changes should be made next time around. They're focusing on three questions: 1) At what point in the campaign should debates begin; 2) How many debates should be held; and 3) Who should conduct them?
The first debate of the 2012 GOP race was originally scheduled for April 2011. It was postponed, and the debates actually started a little later, but many Republicans believe that was still way too early.
"With all the demands on candidates, the importance of grassroots campaigning and meeting voters, are you well served by having a debate process begin that early?" asks Ari Fleischer, the former Bush White House spokesman who is part of the RNC group reviewing debate policy.
Many Republicans believe the answer is no. They would like to see no debates until at least fall, before the first caucuses and primaries. (They also hope to see those caucuses and primaries start later than the first week of January, which has been the case in the last two campaigns.)
Once the debating starts, how many should there be? "There is a sense that 20 debates might be a tad too many," says Fleischer. Although Fleischer calls debates a "vital part of the process" and says the group seeks to have "a healthy, significant number of debates," some party officials would like to see the number cut in half.
Finally, who conducts the debates? The last time around, some conservatives expressed anger about what they saw as liberal journalists subjecting GOP candidates to hostile questioning. "The Republicans have let this become the reality show of presidential politics," said Katon Dawson, a former chairman of the South Carolina GOP, during that state's primary week in January 2012. "We've let it be driven by people who don't like us. ... For that hour and a half of earned media, we have let the drive-by shooting of the liberal media come after our Republican candidates unfettered."
Dawson wasn't alone. Many Republicans scratched their heads during a New Hampshire debate in which ABC's George Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton operative, grilled Romney on the topic of contraception. Where did that come from? Later, when Democrats sought to make contraception a campaign issue, Republicans saw Stephanopoulos' questions as a partisan preview of what was to come.
So who should conduct the debates in 2016? "That's a tricky question," says Fleischer. "Putting on a proper live debate is no simple matter, and usually the people who are good at it are the networks or the cables. So it's something we've got to work through and talk through, to figure out how the debates are going to be reflective of what a Republican primary voter thinks." In the end, the party might decide to assign a few debates to organizations that did not conduct them in 2012.
National party officials can't just dictate changes; state parties will have a lot to say about it, too. But the bottom line is that 2016 will likely have fewer Republican debates, starting later, with perhaps some originating outside what Matt Drudge calls ABCCBSNBCFOXCNNMSNBC.
There will still be plenty of fighting. And Republican officials point out that Democrats, too, are likely to have a wide-open race in 2016, with a field that includes some candidates -- remember Al Sharpton and Mike Gravel? -- who won't exactly bring glory to the Democratic Party.
That will be their problem. For Republicans, there is a real determination to avoid the exhausting and rocky road the candidates traveled in 2012.
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01/29/13 In some GOP circles, reform is already underway
01/22/13 Once a critic of deficits, Obama now goes for broke
01/15/13 Yes, defense spending should be cut --- in the right way
01/08/13 Republicans bet on stronger hand in spending fight
01/03/13 For Obama, the economy never comes first
12/26/12 Anxiety rises as Americans face start of ObamaCare
12/18/12 Get ready for the costs and chaos of Obamacare
12/11/12 Obama ups bid as GOP looks for way out of crisis
12/04/12 Will Republicans support yet another Bush for president?
11/28/12 Hispanics favor Dems, but didn't decide election
11/20/12 Governors take power as balance shifts inside GOP
11/13/12 In 2016, GOP needs candidate voters believe in
11/06/12 Polls don't reflect Romney's momentum in Ohio
10/30/12 Romney, not Obama, shows concern for nation's poor
10/23/12 Entering stretch, Obama campaign running on empty
10/16/12 Will Romney push Libya issue or opt for caution?
10/12/12Romney should expose irs as enforcer of ObamaCare
10/03/12 Obama's problems multiply as GOP frets over Romney
08/25/12 With everything at stake, where's Mitt?
08/21/12 Can Romney fight distractions and stay focused on jobs?
08/14/12 When 1,099 felons vote in a race won by 312 ballots
08/07/12 Heeding critics, Romney finally sharpens pitch for long run
07/31/12 Under second Obama term, a more dependent nation?
07/10/12 Should Rmney apologize for RomneyCare?
07/03/12 Roberts' dodge at heart of ObamaCare decision
06/26/12 For Obama, working for business was working for enemy
06/19/12 Obama suffers amnesia about first year as president
06/12/12 As Romney-Obama fight heats up, Bain will be back
06/05/12 Two books, two standards for Obama, Bush
05/30/12 Obama, Rubio birthers should read the law
05/22/12 Extend Obama's grace period just a wee bit longer?
05/15/12 In new biography, Obama asks: Am I an American?
05/08/12 With serious talks, Gingrich elevated GOP race
05/01/12 Romney braces for 'vast left-wing conspiracy'
04/24/12 Obama faces defeat on pipeline as Dems defect
04/17/12 Time for a cease-fire in phony 'war on women'?
04/10/12 To Obama, legal precedents are all about politics
04/03/12 All of the liberal panic unnecessary --- and all the conservative hope unfounded?
03/27/12 Obama headed for defeat in pipeline fight
03/20/12 Why do island territories play key role in GOP race?
03/14/12The real bias in 'Game Change'
03/06/12 In politics fight, Breitbart knew culture is key
02/27/12 Hollywood makes 'Game Change' into Sarah Palin story
02/22/12 Why did Santorum lose in 2006?
02/14/12 After wins, Santorum targets Romney's native state
02/07/12 Running as businessman may be Romney's curse
02/01/12 What REALLY happened to the Gingrich ethics case?
01/25/12 Romney's unsolvable Massachusetts problem
01/18/12 If Romney wins, count on Obama to dig into Bain
01/10/12 Is New Hampshire fit to pick a president?
01/04/12 How Romney began journey on abortion
12/28/11 Blame Florida for GOP's holiday craziness
12/20/11 Huckabee dismisses draft but remains a force in Iowa
12/13/11 Surging fast, Gingrich looks to take Iowa
12/06/11 Voters like Newt, but wait to see if he's real
11/29/11 Despite surge, peril for Gingrich all around
11/22/11 To bounce back, Perry must mix it up
11/15/11 Newt's wonkish, unconventional campaign
11/08/11 Tim Pawlenty, the man who coulda been a contender
11/07/11 Gingrich big winner at key Iowa event
10/31/11 Perry's right: Republicans drowning in debates
10/25/11 Romney health plan still faces challenge from GOP
10/18/11 Lesson of Perry's candidacy: Think before you run
10/06/11 In veepstakes, candidates deaf to Rubio no
10/04/11 Cain's 9-9-9 plan sounds good, but will it work?
09/27/11 Media bias 101
09/20/11 Obama plagued by Dems' ingratitude
09/13/11 Will immigration cripple Perry's bid?
09/06/11 Left paints the campaign as a religious war
08/30/11 Keep your health plan? Don't count on it
08/24/11 GOP operatives fear lasting Ron Paul problem
08/16/11 Michele Bachmann and the submissive question
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08/02/11 When partisans fling charges of partisanship
07/26/11 Obama could be comeback kid if he heeds Clinton's lessons
07/19/11 Book casts doubt on Obama healthcare story
07/12/11 Controversial budget law begins to pay off
07/04/11 Anti-Mormon bias persists, notably among Dems
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06/06/11 Amid media circus, Palin lays out policy positions
05/30/11 GOP condemns Dems' breathtaking refusal to produce budget
05/24/11 Eye-for-an-eye filibuster stops Democratic nominee
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05/10/11 Bin Laden coup won't help Obama in budget fight
05/09/11 Inside the GOP debate: Pawlenty underwhelms, Cain struggles, Santorum scores
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04/27/11 Get ready for game of chicken over debt ceiling
04/25/11 McCain: Libyan rebels seek U.S. recognition, might pay for war costs
04/18/11 Have the U.S. and NATO given up on Libya mess?
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04/05/11 Jihadis Who Killed Americans Get U.S. Support in Libya
04/04/11 Unions deploy money and muscle in Battle of Wisconsin
03/30/11 Labor fight in Wisconsin is far from over
03/28/11 Obama fails to grasp the gravity of going to war
03/21/11 Union equates lavish benefits to black civil rights
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03/14/11 GOP focuses on NPR's subsidies, not its politics
03/08/11 While Obama seeks new ideas, his bureaucrats stifle them
02/28/11 Why the GOP shouldn't fear a government shutdown
02/22/11 In Hawaii, a dispiriting glimpse of one-party rule
02/21/11 Obama team uses slippery words to tout budget
02/15/11 Myth and memory: The battle over Reagan's legacy
02/07/11 Invoking Reagan, Palin says this is a time for choosing again
01/31/11 With each passing year, Reagan grows larger in the American political imagination
01/24/11 House GOP begins long drive to dismantle Obamacare
01/17/11 GOP gears up again to strip NPR of federal funds
01/10/11 To House GOP, illegal immigration is a jobs issue
01/03/11 Obamacare mess is legacy of Dems' moment of power
12/27/10 Smiling Dems will soon cry Washington is broken
12/20/10 Dems are earmark junkies but GOP goes straight
12/13/10 Needed: A more presidential Palin
12/06/10 With Dems in a funk, Obama charts a new course
11/29/10 Obama's poll numbers point to his defeat in 2012
11/22/10 Holder ignored risks of civilian terror trials
11/16/10 Dems love facts and science --- except when they don't
11/08/10 Obama, new GOP lawmakers are on collision course
11/01/10 New GOP star on track to defeat Dem legend Russ Feingold
10/26/10 If Dems lose, Obama will blame everyone but himself
10/19/10 Profligate Congress should read its own bills
10/13/10 Why Big Labor couldn't match Glenn Beck's rally
10/11/10 Trash-talking Democrat faces defeat in Florida
10/05/10 A GOP unknown in striking distance of Barney Frank
09/28/10 Administration inflates green-jobs numbers
09/20/10 In Delaware, GOP should target Dems, not O'Donnell
09/14/10 GOP Insiders Wary of Landslide Predictions
08/31/10 For Obamacare supporters, judgment day approaches
08/23/10 Obama has himself to blame for Muslim problem
08/17/10 Cut spending without cutting services? Start here
08/17/10 For Michelle Obama, extravagance dents popularity
08/09/10 Obama's zealous civil rights enforcer gets busy
08/02/10 A battle between Left and Right --- inside the GOP
07/26/10 GOP spoiling for fight over Berwick appointment
07/20/10 How long will the public tolerate Afghan war?
07/12/10 NASA's Muslim outreach: Al Jazeera told first
07/02/10 Legal complaint against Gore is detailed, credible
06/28/10 Obama and Dems heading for electoral disaster
06/21/10 Who told Obama drilling is absolutely safe?
06/14/10 Billions for green jobs, whatever they are
06/07/10 Sestak a no-go for any job. So what was the deal?
05/31/10 As economic worries worsen, White House puts on the glitz
05/25/10 GOP dilemma: Fight Kagan, or go along?
05/11/10 Enforcing nation's immigration laws would be a bargain
05/03/10 How Obama could lose Arizona immigration battle
04/27/10 What's behind the anti-Tea Party hate narrative?
04/20/10 As government expands, beware the post-office example
04/19/10 Who wins in 2010? Good luck reading tea leaves
04/12/10 GOP Obamacare strategy: Try repeal, then cut
04/05/10 Obamacare was mainly aimed at redistributing wealth
03/30/10 Message to Dems: People still don't like Obamacare
03/23/10 The coming consequences of Obamacare
03/16/10 Marco Rubio and the Republicans who love him
03/15/10 GOP hopes town halls take health care off table
03/08/10 Dems turn risky health vote into manhood contest
03/01/10 Why Obama defies the public on health care
02/22/10 South Carolina mulls 2012: Romney? Palin? Huck?
02/16/10 GOP winning war over Miranda rights for terrorists
02/09/10 Who are the 300 terrorists held in U.S. prisons?
02/02/10 Is Obama dissatisfied with being president?
01/19/10 The Republican dilemma: Good Michael or Bad Michael?
01/12/10 Now the lawmakers are figuring out what they didn't know
01/05/10 GOP deserves blame for Democratic excesses
12/29/09 Dems' dreams of a blue West begin to turn red
12/22/09 Why Dems push health care, even if it kills them
11/30/09 Dems' kamikaze mission: Health care by New Year's
11/23/09 Why it's a mistake to bring Gitmo prisoners here
11/16/09 Dems' slick fix: $210 billion of fiscal restraint
11/10/09 Obama can't be community organizer for the world
11/02/09 At key moment, Obama leaves health post unfilled
10/26/09 Fierce urgency' for jobs, not health care
10/12/09 Facts hurt Jennings in youth sex controversy
10/05/09 Amid terror threat, Dems chip away at Patriot Act
09/27/09 In Afghanistan, let U.S. troops be warriors
09/21/09 Under fire, Democrats abandon ACORN in drove
09/14/09 Dems stifle Republican health care plans
09/08/09 For Dems, a serious Charlie Rangel problem
09/07/09 Obama's speech: Wrong setting for a sales job
09/01/09 What happened to the antiwar movement?
08/24/09 Why Dems may jam through health care plan
08/17/09 GOP thinks the unthinkable: Victory in 2010
08/10/09 The empty words of a journalist turned flack
08/03/09 Probe finds new clues in AmeriCorps IG scandal
07/27/09 Obamacare haunted by unkept promises of stimulus
07/20/09 Why the GOP failed the Sotomayor test
07/13/09 What the GOPers will ask Sotomayor
06/29/09 Serious questions remain for Mark Sanford
06/22/09 How GOPers can crack the AmeriCorps scandal
06/16/09 Worried about Sotomayor? Consider Andre Davis
06/08/09 Can Mitch Daniels save the GOP?
06/01/09 When the Dems derailed a Latino nominee
05/26/09 Why the GOP will defeat Obama on healthcare
05/19/09 Rosy report can't hide stimulus problems
05/12/09 The Reagan legacy is the man himself
05/05/09 Sen. Specter, meet your new friends
04/27/09 Ted Olson: ‘Torture' probes will never end
04/20/09 Who's Laughing at the Axis of Evil today?
04/14/09 Congress needs Google to track stimulus money
04/06/09 Beyond AIG: A bill to let Big Government set your salary
03/30/09 On Spending and the Deficit, McCain Was Right
03/24/09 It's Obama's crisis now
03/17/09: Geithner-Obama economics: A joke that's not funny
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