NASHUA, NH - Outside of the Fox News catacombs I don't think anyone wants to keep Paul out of the New Hampshire debates. The Union Leader here in NH has a front page story on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama pushing Fox (and WMUR/ABC, holding another debate) to include everybody—in both races, it's implied.
In a statement released yesterday, Clinton said: "I believe in the true spirit of the New Hampshire process; the candidates who have participated in past debates should not be excluded from this one."
Obama expressed similar views.
"The voters of New Hampshire deserve to hear all the Democratic candidates' views on who can best lead America in a fundamentally new direction, and that's why I urge these networks to allow full participation in this week's debate," Obama said in a statement.
Meanwhile I just got a press release from the Libertarian Party on the issue—a group of people who have, let's say, a certain interest in keeping up warm relations with the candidate.
"There is simply no tolerance of competing voices against the political elite of two-party politics," says Shane Cory, executive director of the Libertarian Party.
"The leading GOP fundraiser for the fourth-quarter is being snubbed from the debates for nothing more than having political views outside of mainstream Republicanism," says Cory. "The Republican establishment shuns Paul for his pro-liberty views, and will do everything it can to marginalize him. Unfortunately, this is nothing new. There is a long-standing culture of censorship among the political elite when it comes to competing viewpoints."
I'm still betting against a Paul independent bid, but if I ran the GOP I'd be acting like a hostage negotiator right now: "Just give him what he wants!" If Paul gets shut out of debates, or if the GOP coalesces behind an anti-Paul candidate in his House primary, that's going to make a spoiler bid more and more likely.
At 3:09 I saw the Paul immigration ad on CNN. Again.