Politics: PennAve

RNC chief: GOP may partner with conservative radio on 2016 debates

BY: Sean Lengell August 8, 2013 | 11:33 am
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus says he is open to having conservative talk radio hosts moderate 2016 GOP presidential primary debates. (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The chairman of the Republican National Committee says he is open to having conservative talk radio hosts moderate 2016 GOP presidential primary debates, an expansion of his threat to boycott CNN and NBC if the networks go ahead with planned programs on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Reince Priebus, while speaking Wednesday on air with conservative radio host Andrea Tantaros, said partnering with conservative talk radio on debates was “a very good idea.”

“There’s a lot of good people out there [in talk radio] that can actually understand the base of the Republican Party, the primary voters,” Priebus said.

“On the issue of tactics on the funding of Obamacare, I mean you can very easily parse that out in a way that actually provides some substance to the Republican primary voters and what they actually want to talk about and understand.”

Priebus earlier this week said a planned NBC miniseries on Clinton and a CNN documentary on the former first lady were nothing more than an “extended commercial” for a future Clinton presidential campaign. He has given the networks until Aug. 14 to axe the projects or he says he will push ahead with plans to refuse to coordinate with them on debates, a move he called “reasonable.”

“We ought to stop picking moderates [to host debates] that aren’t in our best interest, and this is part of it,” he said. “We’re also saying to these guys, look, we have to have people that are involved that actually care about the future — not just of our country but our party —  doing these debates.”

Priebus added the party could hold as few as eight debates for the 2016 presidential contest, far short of the 23 it held for last year’s election.

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