Responding to complaints over its decision to limit the Republican presidential primary debates to just 10 top candidates, Fox News has announced it will hold at least one debate for second-tier contenders.
The decision came after a New Hampshire newspaper said it would invite excluded candidates to its own forum on C-SPAN, arguing that Fox's decision "isn't just bad for New Hampshire; it's bad for the presidential selection process by limiting the field to only the best-known few with the biggest bankrolls." Republican National Committee rules ban any candidates who participate in non-sanctioned debates from later joining official ones on Fox, so it is unclear at this point how much participation the New Hampshire program will draw.
While Fox says its 10-candidate limit for the top-tier debate is a logistical decision, the network and the RNC have come under criticism in New Hampshire and elsewhere for this plan's elitism and potential for manipulation. A variety of alternative solutions have been proposed, including my personal favorite of March Madness-style brackets featuring more substantial, one-on-one debates.