As you’re likely aware, the Republican National Committee has taken steps to control the number and format of Republican primary debates in 2016. Candidates who participate in non-sanctioned debates can be penalized delegates or barred from participating in the official debates. As a result, the RNC also put out rules governing a “presidential forum” and is seeking to encourage these non-televised events with support from conservative groups.
Report from The Hill:
For the 2016 cycle, the party has approved nine presidential debates, with three more possible. And to make sure that none of the many forums cropping up turn into de facto debates, the RNC has devised two rules.
First, the candidates can’t directly engage each other for more than 15 minutes. Second, while forums can be recorded, they can’t be live-streamed or broadcast for more than 15 minutes. And if candidates participate in events that break those rules, they’ll be barred from the officially sanctioned, nationally televised debates.
The new rules won’t stop candidates from going after each other, or saying something that could make headlines. And in modern campaigns, cameras are always on. But the new rules could lessen candidates’ missteps.
So in other words, the forum will be more of a question and answer discussion as opposed to a debate where candidates more actively engage each other. The big kicker, however, is the rule that bans live streaming of these forums to more than fifteen minutes. This explains why I’ve been unable to find any complete video of the Koch Brothers forum back in January.
The bottom line: Get ready for a large number of these presidential forums from which we’ll get few video clips and even fewer complete records of the event, aside from press accounts.