RNC eyeing sponsored debates beginning this summer

The Republican National Committee (RNC) might sponsor a series of officially sanctioned debates for the party's 2012 presidential candidates, Chairman Reince Priebus said Tuesday.

Preibus acknowledged that the RNC remains in the process of contemplating sponsoring a series of official debates, which earlier reports had indicated the party was considering.

"The RNC is seeking to either sponsor, sanction, or put a Republican stamp on a limited number of debates," Priebus said at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor.

Priebus said he could envision a series of monthly debates, beginning in the summer, for candidates who have entered the presidential race. These official forums wouldn't limit candidates from participating in any other debates.

The newly installed RNC chairman likened the party's plans to the officially sanctioned debates the Democratic National Committee (DNC) approved during the 2008 cycle.

"There isn't really anything more than that," he said.

But Priebus didn't address concerns about the debates and their format, namely whether the moderators would be selected by GOP officials or whether media outlets would have to pay for access to the debates.

Priebus did express concern that too many debates could erupt, as he said had happened in the 2008 campaign, leading to fatigue among voters by the time the early 2012 primaries arrive. The RNC-sanctioned debates, he said, would allow for a more organized pace to public candidate opportunities.