CNN now says that Rick Perry is being invited to their debate in South Carolina on January 19, two days before the big primary in which he hopes to make his last stand. This despite the fact that he has not met any of the requirements for participation that CNN made public last week.
“Yes, Gov. Perry will be invited to next week’s CNN debate,” said Edie Emery, director of public relations for Turner Broadcasting Systems, in an e-mail to TPM. “He has met the criteria.”
A follow-up e-mail to Emery, asking which criteria Perry has met, was not immediately returned.
According to CNN’s criteria for inclusion, a candidate must get at least 4th place in either Iowa or New Hampshire, or get 7% support in at least three national Republican or three South Carolina primary polls released in January. The requirements were posted online last Tuesday afternoon, several hours before before the Iowa caucuses began later that night.
Earlier in the afternoon, Perry campaign spokesperson Katherine Cesinger told TPM in an e-mail: “Wanted to let you know that yes, we are planning on participating in the debate.”
Obviously, things would look very bad for Perry, who was once thought to be a frontrunner several months ago, if he ended up being excluded from a major debate.
Wednesday morning National Review reported:
Yesterday, Susan Page of USA Today wondered on Twitter whether Rick Perry would qualify for the CNN debate in Charleston, S.C. on January 19. From all appearances, he seemed ineligible, according to CNN rules. But Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan tells NRO in an email, “Yes, he is participating.”
Correction: This post originally reported that Perry was at 7 percent in only one national poll, the Reuters Ipsos poll released Jan. 9. In fact, Perry was also at 7 percent in the Gallup tracking poll released Jan 2.