January 19, 2012
1 CNN Center
Atlanta, GA 30313
Political Director, CNN
820 1st Street Northeast
Washington, DC 20002
Governor Nikki Haley
Southern Republican Leadership Conference 2012
1205 Pendleton Street
Columbia, SC 29201
SLRC Board of Directors
P.O. Box 7766
Columbia, South Carolina 29202
Re: Let Fred Karger into the CNN – SRLC Debate
I am writing to officially request an invitation to the CNN – Southern Republican Leadership Conference on Thursday, January 19, 2012.
Seven Is Just Enough
The overwhelming majority of Republican primary debates have included eight candidates. The New Hampshire Primary has proved that I am currently one of the top eight candidates in the 2012 Republican presidential primary. I beat Michele Bachmann by 40%. Congresswoman Bachmann was in 12 national debates, raised $10 to $12 million, received massive news coverage, has huge name ID and we beat her in New Hampshire. I have scored 2% or 1% in more than a dozen national polls that have included me and have tied Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry and beat Rick Santorum in many of these. That is correct; I have tied all of my Republican presidential primary opponents in methodologically sound polls of primary voters except for Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. I am now only one of seven Republicans actively running for president who will appear on Michigan’s GOP ballot in February, Puerto Rico’s in March and Maryland’s ballot in April and I will be competing in other state primaries and caucuses as well.
Mark McKinnon – Harvard Kennedy School Weigh in on Debates
Mark McKinnon, former Senior Media Advisor for President George W. Bush, Global Vice Chair for Hill & Knowlton and the Reidy Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, just published an extensive research paper on the 2012 Republican Primary Debates. In his 30 page report, “Going Rogue: Time to Reform the Presidential Primary Debates,” Mr. McKinnon found that “the selection criteria for the 2012 Republican primary debates and forums have been constant only in the candidates excluded.” The four excluded candidates were my three peers and me. The other three have left the Republican Primary: Gary Johnson, Thaddeus McCotter and Buddy Roemer. The main criteria for these debates have been polling. With the help of researchers from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Mark McKinnon has proven that “given the insignificant difference between a one percent or 2 percent polling number, particularly early in the primary calendar, it is easy to question the entire system upon which the criteria for entering into primary debates has been constructed.” In his conclusion, McKinnon asserted, “The 2012 presidential primary debates went rogue.”
CNN Breaks the Rules for Perry
Eric Kleefeld of the Talking Points Memo reported that CNN breaks it’s own rules to include Governor Rick Perry in the CNN – SLRC South Carolina Debate. CNN DC Bureau Chief Sam Feist explained that Rick Perry does qualify because a subset of a CBS poll that does not allow participants to choose “Someone Else” shows Perry at 7%. This is the same logic that Governor Gary Johnson used to prove he qualified for the CNN – WMUR – St. Anselm College Debate in June but that CNN rejected. By including Governor Perry, CNN has changed its “pre-established objective criteria” and thus is in violation of Federal Election Laws. Rick Perry and I received less than 1% of the vote in the First-in-the-Nation Primary, so why did CNN not include me in the South Carolina Debate as well?
Extensive International, National and Regional Media Coverage
Google’s search engine has 1,740,000 listings for me. I have been interviewed and profiled in thousands of stories including the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post , The Chicago Tribune, The Jerusalem Post, the Observer , The Guardian, The OC Weekly and Chicago Magazine . BBC’s HardTalk interviewed its first 2012 Republican candidate when Steven Sackur interviewed me. Fox News, ABC, MSNBC, CBS News, New Hampshire’s WMUR, The Manchester Union Leader, The Des Moines Register, Politico and The Huffington Post all regularly include me in their lists of 2012 candidates. I have appeared on CBS, ABC, CNBC, NPR, Rachel Maddow, Comedy Central and Thomas Roberts’ show on MSNBC as well as hundreds more TV and radio shows from Slovenia to Australia.
CNN & the Southern Republican Leadership Conference Can Make History
The Time Has Come. I should be included in the CNN – SRLC Debate on January 19, 2012 with the other leading Republican candidates. As the only moderate Republican running for president this cycle, I have many different views on issues and many new ideas that have not yet been talked about in previous debates. As the first openly gay candidate of a major political party, my appearance on your debate stage will be historic. What a proud moment that will be for millions of Americans.
I look forward to hearing from you, and hope to see you in Charleston on Thursday!