Fox News Channel won’t lack for candidates when it broadcasts the first exchange between Republican president wannabes on Thursday 5/5/11 – but it will be facing a deficit of top tier candidates.
FNC has indicated it will honor its commitment to broadcast the event regardless of who shows up. FNC’s Michael Clemente told the Washington Post, “We are moving forward with a debate that promises to jumpstart the conversation about who will be the next President of the United States. As journalists, our job is not to marshal the field, but to ask questions of those who do get in.”
Among the missing, for one reason or another, are four of the most oft-mentioned candidates: Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich.
The most viable candidate among those are expected to participate in the event is former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Among the others are well-known US Rep. and former Republican primary candidate Ron Paul (R-TX), former Godfathers Pizza exec and current radio host Herman Cain, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.
Participants must commit by 5PM 5/3/11.
RBR-TVBR observation: This might be very good news for marginal candidates, who will get more face-time and more opportunities to score a reasonably well circulated soundbite or go viral on the internet. The question is how many will be watching a debate that is scheduled about a year-and-a-half before the 2012 general election?