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