CNN announced this week that it will host a Republican presidential debate in January at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire.
But somebody apparently forgot to tell officials at the college, who were dumbfounded by the announcement.
"We were surprised to be included on a press release by a network about a debate which we had not planned or booked," Neil Levesque, executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm said on Friday, according to The New York Times.
"Such a debate announcement breached the RNC debate rules. We have and will continue to work with the Republican Party on debates."
CNN announced it would host two debates in January: one at Saint Anselm on the 21st and the other at Drake University in Des Moines on the 10th.
"These are not RNC sanctioned debates.," RNC Communications Director Keith Schipper posted on X on Thursday.
Chris Ager, chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party, added: "The CNN thing came out and everybody's like, What the heck? I'm still scratching my head. And I still haven't been contacted by CNN at all."
Adding to CNN's debate confusion is the fact that rival ABC News will host a debate three days earlier at Saint Anselm.
Meanwhile, Ager said he also had concerns about CNN holding a debate just two days before the Jan. 23 primary, which he said would leave candidates little time to respond to any major moments onstage.
"In New Hampshire, we like to give everybody a fair shot as much as possible," he said.
The Times noted the snafu comes as the RNC is expected on Friday to announce that candidates are free to appear at any debate. The announcement would eliminate a requirement that candidates could only participate in debates formally approved by the party.
A CNN spokeswoman said on Friday: "We can't speak to any miscommunication within Saint Anselm, but we are moving forward with our plans to host a debate in New Hampshire on Jan. 21."
Jeffrey Rodack ✉
Jeffrey Rodack, who has nearly a half century in news as a senior editor and city editor for national and local publications, has covered politics for Newsmax for nearly seven years.
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