Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham said on Fox News that the format for the network's upcoming GOP primary debate is no good.
Fox is hosting the first Republican presidential primary debate on Aug. 6 and in order to manage the still-growing field of candidates, the network is only allowing the 10 with the highest national polling averages on the stage.
"I think this is a a dumb way to weed out the field," the South Carolina senator said Friday on Fox. "I don't mind weeding out the field over time but a national poll tests celebrity. Big states have an advantage versus small states. People who've run before have an advantage over those who haven't. It's July, for god sakes. So, a national poll is a lousy way in my view to determine who should be on the stage and quite frankly I resent it."
Graham, also faulting the Republican National Committee, which is sanctioning the debates, said the current debate format rewards higher name recognition and diminishes the importance of early primary states New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina.
"It's all about money," he said. "And what you're going to reward over time is the people with the most money and your'e destroying the early primary process and I think that's bad for the Republican Party."
Fox is compensating the candidates who don't make it in the primetime debate with a "forum" that will air earlier during the day. Asked if he would participate in that, should he not make it on the more prestigious debate stage, Graham said he hadn't decided.
"I'll make a decision about that later."
Rick Santorum, another Republican presidential candidate who is on his second run for the White House, is also polling outside of the top 10. In June, he called the format "arbitrary" and "irrational."