Some of the Republican presidential candidates who are likely to be cut from the first debate on Fox are starting to grumble about the Republican National Committee's debate rules, calling them a "miscarriage," "dumb" and "lousy."
In the last few days, both South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum have taken public shots at the RNC for rules it has approved for the first debate. Those rules say only the top 10 candidates will make it, and Graham and Santorum are at risk of not being allowed on the stage.
On Monday, Santorum said at an event in Washington, D.C., that it was a "miscarriage" for the RNC to agree to that format.
In an interview Friday on Fox News, Graham said the qualifications to make it onto the stage are "dumb" and "lousy."
"I don't mind weeding out the field over time, but a national poll tests celebrity," Graham said at the time.
But so far, officials at the RNC don't seem to care.
"I don't think we're too worried about it," one RNC staffer told the Washington Examiner media desk. A separate staffer said he hasn't heard any discussion about Graham or Santorum's complaints.
Reince Priebus, the committee's chairman, has not publicly commented on the matter and neither has Sean Spicer, the committee's communications director.
A spokeswoman for the RNC said the rules for the debates are a legal issue. "While by law the networks set the criteria, we are very proud that both CNN and FOX will be holding the most inclusive debates in the history of either party," she said.
Exclusion from the first primetime debate of the primary will likely have a negative impact on the campaigns of lesser known candidates, who would otherwise benefit from the free exposure.