C-SPAN is partnering with a handful of regional newspapers in early-voting states for a nationally televised forum with the Republican presidential candidates just days before Fox News Channel’s first scheduled debate.
The network has invited all 17 of the GOP presidential hopefuls to the Aug. 3 Voters First Forum in New Hampshire.
Publishers at the New Hampshire Union Leader, The Post and Courier of South Carolina, and Iowa's The Gazette say the forum was prompted in part by Fox's controversial decision to cap the number of candidates in its Aug. 6 debate at 10.
Not just these 17, I presume, but also anybody else who jumps in before then. Until the field is winnowed, we need to hear from all the candidates and judge them on their merits. Even if it takes two or three groupings over two or three nights, the first debate should include anybody who's in it. Selecting the top 10 in polling can effectively and permanently shut out the others, because their absence from the debate deprives them of the chance to prove to voters that they belong in the top 10.