Fox News announced the roster for the first GOP debate of the election season Tuesday night, and seven Republicans were snubbed for a spot on the debate stage. Since a 17-person debate would be extremely chaotic and likely take 20 hours, Fox narrowed it down to ten debaters and created a separate debate happening earlier on Thursday for the candidates with the lowest polling numbers. The GOP candidates not chosen for the debate responded to the major diss largely by either staying positive or just ignoring it altogether.
The Republicans that didn't make the cut are Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, George Pataki, Jim Gilmore, and Rick Santorum. Since they get to participate in a mini-debate, they weren't totally left out, but it clearly sets them apart as the bottom of the GOP totem poll. Although it could prove to be detrimental to their campaigns, most of the presidential contenders didn't attack Fox for its choices or claim they deserve to be on the big stage. In fact, Jindal (who polled at 1.4 percent) and Fiorina (at 1.3) haven't said a word about it. The only person who vocalized their frustration was Santorum's communications manager, Matt Beynon, who's candidate has the support of 1.4 percent of Republicans. Beynon said in a statement:
The idea that they have left out the runner-up for the 2012 nomination, the former four-term governor of Texas, the governor of Louisiana, the first female Fortune 50 CEO, and the three-term Senator from South Carolina due to polling seven months before a single vote is cast is preposterous.
The candidates that did comment on Fox's debate roster focused on the debate they will participate in, making it sound just as important as the later debate. Gilmore, polling the lowest at 0.2 percent, tweeted Wednesday: "I'm really looking forward to tomorrow's debate on Fox." Perry, who polled at 1.8 percent, added a little more punch by tweeting: "I look forward to being @FoxNews 5pm debate for what will be a serious exchange of ideas & positive solutions to get America back on track." There's a small implication that the bigger debate will be less serious and less positive.
Graham, who polled at 0.7 percent, spun his rejection in the best way possible, nicknaming the earlier debate the "happy hour debate," because who doesn't love happy hour? He tweeted Wednesday: "Tomorrow during the #HappyHourDebate at 5pm, we'll talk real issues like preventing a nuclear Iran." Throwing in that he wants to talk about Iran shows that the happy hour debate, despite it's cute title, will be about real issues just as much as the prime-time debate will be.
Although Pataki, who polled at 0.6 percent, didn't directly comment on the debate, he retweeted someone who did. The former governor of New York retweeted Tom Nardacci's tweet that read: "The alt debate offers a bigger chance to be heard w/o The Donald. @GovernorPataki could get a bounce out of this lineup." The snubbed Republicans may actually get more time to outline their beliefs and plans with less debaters and without Trump there to steal everyone's thunder.