Saturday, December 18, 2010

CNN and Tea Party Express to host 2012 Presidential debate

CNN said Friday that it is joining forces with the Tea Party Express — a political action committee that played a key role in the 2010 midterm elections — to co-host a Republican presidential debate. The debate is scheduled for Labor Day week in Tampa, Fla., in September — five months before the 2012 presidential primaries begin. It’s CNN’s second entry into what’s already become a crowded schedule of debates for the race to determine the GOP nominee to take on President Barack Obama. The announced partnership with Tea Party Express raised eyebrows both in the media world and in tea party circles. CNN’s ratings have sagged as it has staked its claim to a more traditional, objective news format, while its main competitors, the conservative ratings juggernaut Fox News and the left-leaning MSNBC, have come to embrace political points of view. The Tea Party Express, meanwhile, has come under fire from rival tea party groups, which contend it’s a front for the Sacramento Republican consulting firm that runs it. But the PAC spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads boosting tea party candidates in the 2010 midterms and was credited with helping carry its endorsees to victories over more-establishment-backed candidates in Senate races in Nevada, Alaska and Delaware — where all the PAC’s candidates went on to lose their general election campaigns. “Undecided voters turn to CNN to educate themselves during election cycles, so it is a natural fit for CNN to provide a platform for the diverse perspectives within the Republican Party, including those of the tea party movement,” CNN political director Sam Feist said in a statement...more

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