"The Republican National Committee has decided to move forward without NBC's participation in our February debate in Houston, Texas." - Reince Priebus RNC Chairman
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NBC is out. CNN will take over as hosts of the Republican debate in Houston, Texas, February 25, just five days before Super Tuesday, when 14 states will hold their primaries. That's the decision of the members of the RNC's debate committee, who voted unanimously this afternoon to end NBC's involvement.
"The Republican National Committee has decided to move forward without NBC's participation in our February debate in Houston, Texas," RNC chairman Reince Priebus wrote in a formal statement. "The RNC has awarded the debate to CNN, who will broadcast it on Thursday, February 25th in Houston at a location to be decided."
The decision to part ways with NBC comes after candidates complained about the caliber of questions asked by moderates at the third Republican debate, which was hosted by CNBC last October. In a memorable moment from that event, Texas senator Ted Cruz complained bitterly that Republicans were forced to field questions about their failing poll numbers, while Democrats were asked at their debates who was the smartest and best looking. Shortly after that debacle, Chairman Priebus wrote in a statement:
"While debates are meant to include tough questions and contrast candidates' visions and policies for the future of America, CNBC's moderators engaged in a series of 'gotcha' questions, petty and mean-spirited in tone, and designed to embarrass our candidates.
"What took place Wednesday night was not an attempt to give the American people a greater understanding of our candidates' policies and ideas."
Chairman Priebus said that Telemundo and the National Review, NBC's chosen conservative media partner, are still invited to participate.
According to CNN Money CNN, which has hosted two previous debates and is scheduled to host another in March, has not yet announced a moderator for the pre-Super Tuesday debate.
NBC has yet to comment.
Photo is a screenshot from the CNBC Debate via YouTube