Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) is lashing out at the media after the Fox Business Network announced Monday that he did not qualify for its main-stage presidential debate.
“You want war? We’ll give it to you,” Paul told The Washington Post.
Paul was one of several candidates who failed to meet Fox Business’ threshold to qualify for the main Thursday debate because of his relatively poor polling numbers.
But Paul argued in an email to his supporters that he was actually running a “top-tier” campaign.
“Are you kidding me?” the candidate wrote in the subject line.
“I know the media and the Washington machine have been trying to block our message, but I didn’t think they’d go this far,” Paul continued. “This week we proved the strength of our top-tier campaign with multiday trips to Iowa and New Hampshire to take my message of liberty straight to the voters. … But those supporters don’t mean enough to the media. We just learned today that we will not be allowed on the main stage at Thursday’s debate.”
Paul was offered a position at the so-called undercard debate, where the lower-polling candidates face off before the main, prime-time event. Paul rejected that offer.
“[T]he media doesn’t care about the truth, they care about their own agenda. They want to decide the ‘tiers’ of this race and name the winners and losers. I will not stand for this,” he wrote.
Paul’s campaign also released a statement disputing Fox Business’ methodology for aggregating recent polls.
“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 Fiorina. In yesterday’s Marist Iowa poll he was alone in 5th place,” the campaign noted. “By any reasonable criteria Senator Paul has a top-tier campaign and has qualified for the stage.”
The other candidate booted from the main debate stage after previously qualifying for it, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, had a comparatively muted response to the snub. But a Fiorina spokeswoman did argue on Twitter that Fiorina should be included in the prime-time debate match:
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