CNN released on Thursday night the lineup for its Republican presidential debate next week, showing Donald J. Trump once again squarely in the middle of the stage, the spot reserved for the top performer in the polls, with the retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson to his right and Jeb Bush to his left.
The staging was set by CNN, which is hosting the debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley Calif., on Sept. 16. It was based on an average of the five most recent public opinion polls, including one released by CNN on Thursday. The network changed the debate criteria essentially to allow Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett Packard chief executive and the only woman in the Republican field, to take the stage. Ms. Fiorina had a breakout performance last month at the Fox News debate during the hour set aside for the so-called undercard candidates, and her supporters felt she was being excluded unfairly.
Rounding out the group of 11 are Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio and Mike Huckabee.
The lineup for the undercard debate, which will take place earlier in the evening, will be George E. Pataki, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, none of whom polled at above 1 percent. Jim Gilmore, the former governor of Virginia, is the only candidate who did not qualify for either debate.
SOURCE: Maggie Haberman
The New York Times