Guess who's not happy that Gov. Rick Perry will compete in this weekend's GOP presidential debates in New Hampshire? Buddy Roemer.
The former Louisiana governor — whose presidential bid has drawn little attention in the media or among voters — thinks it's patently unfair that Perry gets to participate in the debates when the two candidates are polling equally poorly in the Granite State. Saturday night's debate will be nationally televised on ABC; Sunday morning's will air on NBC and on Facebook.
"If Perry, who polls below me in New Hampshire, is invited to the debate," read a Tweet this afternoon from @BuddyRoemer, "the blatant, systematic attempt to silence me will be set in stone."
The latest polls show both Perry and Roemer polling at 1 percent or below; the two of them, combined with U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, who dropped out of the race on Wednesday, don't break 2 percent.
ABC debate organizers could not immediately be reached for comment, but the rules of their debate indicate that candidates are eligible to participate if they either finished in the top three in Iowa or achieved 5 percent or higher in a poll of likely New Hampshire primary voters or a primary trial heat of national Republican voters conducted between Nov. 1 and Jan. 6. Perry has placed above 5 percent in national polls.
The organizers of the NBC/Facebook debate responded to an email by providing their own debate criteria, which aligns almost exactly with ABC's — but also includes candidates who received 10 percent or more of the vote in the Iowa caucuses. Perry received 10.3 percent in Iowa; Roemer got 31 votes total in Iowa, a statistically insignificant number.
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