BOSTON (AP) — The Republican National Committee approved a resolution Friday to block two television networks from hosting GOP presidential primary debates.
Friday’s vote affirms RNC chairman Reince Priebus’s threat against CNN and NBC unless the networks dropped plans to air programs about possible Democratic presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton. The vote was unanimous. Priebus said CNN has “an obvious bias.”
“That’s a network that won’t be hosting a single Republican primary debate,” Priebus declared, receiving a standing ovation from Republican activists from across the country gathered for the committee’s summer meeting in Boston.
In a statement, CNN said a division of the company planned to air a documentary about Clinton in 2014.
“The project is in the very early stages of development, months from completion,” the CNN statement read. “We encouraged all interested parties to wait until the program premieres before judgments are made about it. Unfortunately, the RNC was not willing to do that.”
Even before the Clinton dispute, Republican leaders favored plans to have fewer presidential debates with more friendly moderators. They believe their 2012 presidential candidates spent too much time beating up on each other in last year’s monthslong primary season, contributing to Mitt Romney’s loss.
“Our party should not be involved in setting up a system that encourages the slicing and dicing of candidates over a long period of time with moderators that are not in the business of being at all concerned about the future of our party,” Priebus told reporters.
Democratic National Committee spokesman Michael Czin criticized Friday’s vote.
“Instead of modifying their policies to actually present smart solutions for middle class families, the only thing the GOP can unite behind is a plan to continue to limit the audiences — and voters — to whom they will communicate,” he said.