January Debates Finally Excluding Low-Tier Candidates

Ron Paul supporters are screaming bloody murder but, for the life of me, I cannot fathom why.

Anyways, here’s the story from CNN:

NEW YORK (AP) — ABC and Fox News Channel are narrowing the field of presidential candidates invited to debates this weekend just before the New Hampshire primary, in Fox’s case infuriating supporters of Republican Rep. Ron Paul.

The roster of participants for ABC’s back-to-back, prime-time Republican and Democratic debates Saturday in New Hampshire will be determined after results of Thursday’s Iowa caucus become clear.

Fox, meanwhile, has invited five GOP candidates to a forum with Chris Wallace scheduled for its mobile studio in New Hampshire on Sunday. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee received invites, leaving Paul of Texas and Rep. Duncan Hunter of California on the sidelines.

The network said it had limited space in its studio — a souped-up bus — and that it invited candidates who had received double-digit support in recent polls.

In Ron Paul’s defense, he is leading Thompson in New Hampshire according to the RCP average. According to the average, Ron Paul is at 6.3% and Fred Thompson is at an almost meaningless 3%. Therefore, based on New Hampshire polls, Ron Paul should be included in the debate and Thompson should be out.

However, clearly they’re basing this on national polls as well where Thompson is well ahead of Paul, tied somewhere for 3rd or 4th place, more than double Paul’s support.

I do know one thing, the line has to be drawn somewhere. Reality tells us that the candidates polling under 10% really do not have a meaningful chance of winning. Despite the claims by Paul supporters, and believe me, I’d love to be surprised because it’d make a heck of story, I don’t think he’s going anywhere nor will he come close to actually winning New Hampshire.

Furthermore, Duncan Hunter is being excluded as well, it’s just the natural order of things.

In case you haven’t check it out, here’s the full debate schedule and archived videos:

Full 2008 Debate Schedule & Videos