Politico reports the grim news for Rand Paul's campaign (and Carly Fiorina's): Fox Business News says they didn't meet the set criteria for inclusion in the top-level Republican presidential candidate debate it is hosting Thursday night, and wants to relegate them to the "undercard" debate. But Rand Paul at least says hell no, he won't go:
The Kentucky senator told CNN Monday evening, just before the official announcement, that Fox Business had made "a mistake," and he wouldn't attend.
"We will not participate in anything that's not first-tier," Paul said. His campaign confirmed to POLITICO that he will sit out Thursday's debate.
One might think that, while the symbolism of being stuck in that debate is certainly crummy, that getting oneself in front of a cable network audience for an hour and having the possibility of making some news by what one says (when set up against Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Fiorina, Paul could not help but stand out) is better for a floundering campaign than not having that exposure.
But the Paul campaign doesn't seem to see it that way and is choosing to take the prideful path.
The campaign didn't seem to want to answer that question directly this afternoon, responding merely with their press release statement, which read in part that Paul will not
let the media decide the tiers of this race and will instead take his message directly to the voters of New Hampshire and Iowa. Multiple national polls including CNN, CBS, Fox, Marist and others have him in 5th or 6th place, one had him just a single point out of 4th. In multiple polls he scores ahead of Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich and Carly Fiorona. In yesterday's Marist Iowa poll he was alone in 5th place. In fact his numbers are on the rise in recent weeks. A poll number of five is no different than a poll number of 8 if the standard of error is +/- 3. To exclude candidates on faulty analysis is to disenfranchise the voter… This race is hitting its final stretch and Rand Paul is in it to win it. He is on the ballot in every state. He has over 1000 precinct captains in Iowa and a huge 500 person leadership team in New Hampshire. He is an important voice and has a unique message to share. He will hit the ground running this week to double down on his efforts to talk straight to the voters.