Two GOP candidates DEMOTED to 2nd tier presidential debate; two others won’t debate at all

cnbc debateTwo former top-tier Republican presidential candidates now find themselves “not ready for prime time” for the November 10 debate to be hosted by Fox Business Network — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

What’s worse, two other candidates — former New York Gov. George Pataki and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina failed to even qualify for the happy hour debate, and will be sitting out Tuesday’s Milwaukee, Wisconsin slugfest.

In order to qualify for the 9 p.m. (Eastern) prime-time debate, candidates needed to average at least 2.5 percent in the four most recent national polls. To qualify for the 7 p.m. lead-up debate, they needed to average a minimum of 1.0 percent in those same polls.

Christie, who averages just 2.25 percent, and by all accounts did well in the previous debate hosted by CNBC, was undeterred by the news. He tweeted Thursday night:

Huckabee tweeted similar sentiments:

Then he added:

As for the two who will be no-shows, CNN reported:

Both Graham and Pataki made no secret of their frustrations with Fox’s decision. “Regardless of this decision tonight, Senator Graham continues to be the foremost expert on foreign policy and national security in this field of candidates, on either stage,” Christian Ferry, his campaign manager, said in a statement. “In the end, the biggest loser tonight is the American people and the Republican Presidential primary process that has been hijacked by news outlets.” In his own statement, Pataki said he was “very disappointed tonight that early national polls are shaping the election choices for the American people. This new trend is a danger to our primary system, a disservice to voters everywhere, especially those in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and a clear boost for the worship of celebrity over accomplishment and ideas.”

Christie and Huckabee will be appearing in the 7 p.m. warm-up event alongside Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. The line-up for the 9 p.m. main event, in order of ranking, will be front-runner Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. Watch the following clip, via Fox Business Network.

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