Two of the candidates who have been excluded from the GOP debates so far this season are doing what they can to garner some attention before Tuesday night's Bloomberg/Washington Post debate by releasing ads in support of their nearly forgotten candidacies.
Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer goes for biography and populism in his ad, in which he touts his time away from politics as highly as his electoral career. He also emphasizes his refusal to take PAC money. He's insisted on taking no more than $100 from individual donors, and in his ad, he states that this decision separates him from his competitors in that it makes him "free to lead":
Roemer's absence from the debate Tuesday night also means that the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests will not have much of a voice in the proceedings. Last week, Roemer -- whose campaign has been full-throated in its denunciation of the role that big money and corporate interests play in governance -- came out in support of the demonstrators, and he reaffirmed this in a statement released by his campaign Tuesday:
"I look forward to traveling from New Hampshire to New York today to listen to, and to speak with, my fellow Americans who are fed up as I am with the corruption that is occurring before our very-own eyes.
Wall Street continues to be a major player in the corrupt game of politics. They did not create the problem or the game, they are just making it permanent and worse. Our President and Congress like to pat themselves on the back for supposedly "regulating" Wall Street, yet a week later they take their money at $35,000 a plate. I was born, just not yesterday.
Americans ought to unite together and demand an end to the corruption and greed that poisons our political and financial systems; Tea Partiers; and Occupiers; Democrats and Republicans - for this Movement is an American movement and is not going away.
Meanwhile Fred Karger has cut an ad which he already unveiled at the Grafton County Republican Committee Columbus Day Dinner on Monday evening. In it, Karger manages to both protest his debate exclusion and take up the cause of LGBT rights by inserting himself in to the Fox News/Google debate, so he can respond to the booing of a gay soldier that transpired during that debate's broadcast. (The scene of Michele Bachmann applauding Karger's response may be a bit of wishful thinking, but just go with it, okay?)
Speaking of debate exclusion, the Karger campaign seems to have caught Tuesday night's debate organizers changing their own rules to allow for one of the top tier candidates to gain entry. According to the qualifying criteria of the debate, each participant's campaign must have "reported at least half a million dollars raised in its FEC filing through the 2011 second quarter reporting period." Writes Karger:
Our campaign checked all eight candidates to see if each met your criteria. Guess what?
RICK PERRY WAS NOT A CANDIDATE BY THE END OF 2nd QUARTER AND HAS NOT FILED ANY FEC FUNDRAISING REPORTS:
Rick Perry did not join the race until August 12, 2011, 43 days after the end of the 2nd reporting period. Rick Perry has yet to file ANY FEC fundraising reports for any quarter
Mayor Bloomberg, since the debate organizers are not sticking to their own rules, then how about letting all serious Republican candidates for President on the stage to debate and talk about our ideas to fix the economy?
Let in former Governor’s Gary Johnson, Buddy Roemer and me. We all have much to add to this all important discussion.
Otherwise, under the organizers “pre-established objective criteria,” Mr. Perry should not be allowed to debate Tuesday at Dartmouth.
Speaking of Gary Johnson, he has been complaining about exclusion as well. While Johnson qualified for the last debate, he is once again on the outside, looking in on Tuesday night. His campaign continues to complain about the "Gary Johnson Rule," (which was coined by Slate's Dave Weigel):
Ron Nielson, senior advisor, said, “When Governor Johnson was excluded from the NBC/Politico debate last month, it was speculated that there was a ‘Gary Johnson Rule’ in effect to insure that he would not be on the stage. Despite the fact that it was a bit suspicious that NBC and Politico came up with a 4% polling threshold – just high enough to exclude Governor Johnson, we didn’t necessarily buy into the ‘Rule’ theory. Then, CNN, who has used a 2% threshold, does a poll in August and Governor Johnson gets 2%, higher than Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum. What does CNN do? They stopped including us in their polls, obviously reducing his chances of ‘qualifying’ for their next debate. A ‘Gary Johnson Rule’? Maybe.
Now, we see the criteria for next week’s Bloomberg/Washington Post debate, and there is the clearest ‘Gary Johnson Rule’ yet. To be included, they say a candidate must have participated in three debates. Gary has participated in two. And for good measure, they included a fundraising threshold that we didn’t meet – as though that is relevant to anyone’s qualifications for President.
Quipped Nielson, “Perhaps the national media should simplify the Gary Johnson Rule with criteria that just require that candidates not be named Gary Johnson.”