Republican party drops NBC as host for February debate

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The Republican National Committee has decided to drop NBC as the host for one of the Republican debates next month and will award it to CNN instead.

Monday’s announcement came months after the Republican National Committee “suspended” its partnership with NBC to host a debate in Houston on February 26. That followed after what the Republican party called “gotcha” questions designed to embarrass candidates during a CNBC debate in October.

“The Republican National Committee has decided to move forward without NBC’s participation in the February debate in Houston, Texas,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. “The RNC has awarded the debate to CNN, who will broadcast it on Thursday, February 25 in Houston at a location to be decided.”

Priebus said the committee’s partnership with Telemundo and conservative partners National Review and Salem Communications will continue as planned. The debate will be the final Republican debate before Super Tuesday on March 1, when a large number of states hold primary elections in the race for the White House.

In a letter to NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack in late October, Priebus explained that the committee needed to avoid a “repeat performance” of the debate on CNBC, which is part of NBC. “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,” he said at the time.

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