Lindsey Graham on RNC’s Handling of Debates: ‘This Is Getting Pretty Bad’


After Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debate hosted by CNBC, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) criticized the Republican National Committee for its handling of the contests, and insisted that he does not deserve to be on the so-called “undercard” stage.

“I think the Republican Party is becoming the loser here,” Graham said Thursday morning on Morning Joe, using the word “chaos” to describe the debate. “We’ve got talented candidates. The process is not bringing out the best in the party. The RNC is trying to correct the last cycle’s problems of too many debates. They’ve overdone it. They’re micromanaging the process.”

Immediately following the debate, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said CNBC should be “ashamed” for its moderators’ “deeply unfortunate” questioning of the candidates, a sentiment that was expressed widely among the GOP hopefuls and other members of the media.

“While I was proud of our candidates and the way they handled tonight’s debate, the performance by the CNBC moderators was extremely disappointing and did a disservice to their network, our candidates, and voters,” Priebus said in a statement.

Graham continued to lambast the RNC, saying it couldn’t “run a one-car funeral” and is attempting to winnow the field based on candidates’ national polling. Graham has sat at the near-bottom of the polls among Republican primary voters since he launched his long-shot campaign focused mainly on national security and foreign policy issues.

Co-host Joe Scarborough agreed with Graham, and said the moderators, namely CNBC’s John Harwood, seemingly crafted questions to play “gotcha” with the candidates.

Graham added that his fellow GOP candidates who do not recognize that bipartisanship is a required skill for a president are not “ready for the job.”

“That’s all missed with this kind of clown stuff,” Graham said. “… I am ready to be commander-in-chief on day one, and I will work with Democrats for the good of this country.”

Watch the video above, via MSNBC.

[h/t TPM]
[Image via screengrab]

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