No 3rd-party pols to be at 1st de­bate

Baltimore Sun - - ELECTION 2016 - — As­so­ci­ated Press Los An­ge­les Times’ Michael A. Me­moli and Evan Halper con­trib­uted.

DEN­VER — The com­mis­sion that over­sees pres­i­den­tial de­bates has in­vited only Hil­lary Clin­ton and Don­ald Trump to the first pres­i­den­tial de­bate.

The Com­mis­sion on Pres­i­den­tial De­bates said Fri­day that Lib­er­tar­ian nom­i­nee Gary John­son (8.4 per­cent) and Green Party nom­i­nee Jill Stein (3.2 per­cent) were polling too low to qual­ify for the Sept. 26 event. The group since 2000 has in­vited only those with at least 15 per­cent in an av­er­age of five polls. from some of the harsh rhetoric in its fi­nal weeks.

“This is a ‘let’s move on’ mo­ment,” said Frank Luntz, a Repub­li­can who helps can­di­dates craft mes­sages. “He has to be­come tol­er­a­ble among in­de­pen­dents and swing vot­ers.”

Oth­ers saw in­stead a nom­i­nee who again veered off mes­sage when his cam­paign has been gain­ing in polls.

“The bar is so low with Trump that ad­mit­ting that the in­cum­bent pres­i­dent was born in the United States was viewed as progress by some,” said Ryan Wil­liams, a GOP con­sul­tant and for­mer spokesman for Mitt Rom­ney. “I don’t think it’s enough to sway un­de­cided vot­ers.”

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