The Republican presidential debate on Fox News Thursday will feature the top 10 candidates as ranked in a set of national polls — though the network won't say which polls will be used when the final determination is made Tuesday. With so many candidates, however, the network set up an "undercard" event earlier in the day, a one-hour debate for everyone who received at least 1 percent in the polls. (Some in the media are calling it the "kiddie table.")
Last week, however, it was clear that even that low bar was going to be too high for some, and Fox News Vice President Michael Clemente told Politico, "FOX News is expanding participation in the 5 p.m. [Eastern time] debate to all declared candidates whose names are consistently being offered to respondents in major national polls, as recognized by Fox News." That would seem to include businesswoman Carly Fiorina, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and former New York Gov. George Pataki, who are registering zero in some polls.
Whatever the lineup, Gov. Bobby Jindal's own poll numbers (between 1 and 2 percent) are a dead cinch to relegate him to the undercard. That event — at Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena — will be televised live from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. New Orleans time, with the main debate from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.