- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s presidential campaign is calling on the RNC and CNBC to rethink the “delusional” polling criteria they are relying on to determine who gets a spot on the main debate stage this month in Colorado.

Securing an invite to the Oct. 28 debate at the University Of Colorado Boulder is seen as crucial for Mr. Jindal and some of other lower-tier candidates, who some GOP analysts say are running out of time to make a move in a crowded race.

But the debate is being limited to candidates that average 2.5 percent in national polls, and Mr. Jindal appears poised to fall short, according to a Real Clear Politics average of polls.

The Jindal camp made the case in a conference call with reporters Tuesday that the Republican National Committee and CNBC should come up with new debate criteria that puts a greater emphasis on polling out of Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two stops on the nomination calendar.

Curt Anderson, a senior strategist, said that over the last half century, every single Republican nominee for president has finished in first place in either Iowa or New Hampshire, and said the debate criteria should reflect that.

“We don’t have a nationally primary,” Mr. Anderson said, ridiculing the use of nationwide polls, which he said places too high a value on national name ID.

“If Tom Brady announced he was running tomorrow, he would definitely be in the upcoming debate based on name ID alone,” he said, alluding to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, a four-time Super Bowl champion.

Asked about the Jindal camp’s complaints, Sean Spicer, spokesman for the RNC, said, “We have a historic number of qualified candidates seeking out the nomination and have gone to historic steps to ensure that their voices are part of the debates.”

Mr. Jindal also missed the cut for the opening debates hosted by Fox News and CNN, which also used national polls to determine participants.

The Jindal camp said the RNC’s push to limit debates in the 2016 election and cap the number of people on stage has benefited Donald J. Trump, the GOP front-runner in national polls.

“The debate rules seem to have been made to reduce the number of debates, and I guess it is because Republicans are afraid of democracy or something,” Mr. Anderson said. “The funny thing is that it is benefiting Donald Trump now.”

Mr. Jindal, the nation’s first Indian-American governor, has positioned himself as the “ideas man” in the Republican race, rolling out policy plans on taxes, foreign policy, health care and energy.

But the RCP average of polls finds him garnering less than one percent nationwide, as well as in New Hampshire and in South Carolina, the second and third stops on the nomination calendar.

The bright spot for him has been in Iowa, where the caucus will sound the starting gun in the nomination race on Feb. 1 and where he is currently polling at 4 percent, according to the RCP averages — placing him eighth in a field of 15 candidates.

Iowa has a history of winnowing the presidential field, although the winner of the last two caucuses — former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum in 2012 and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2008 — fell short of capturing the nomination. That fueled additional questions about the overall importance of the caucuses, which are dominated by social conservatives.

The winner of the last six competitive Iowa caucuses has won the party’s presidential nomination twice — Sen. Robert Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000.

Mr. Jindal is planning to use a strong showing in Iowa as a springboard to the nomination.

The 44-year-old has spent more days — 58 — in Iowa since 2013 than any other Republican running in the race — edging Mr. Santorum by a day, according to a tally from Democracy in Action.


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