By Justin Sink
A top adviser to former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said Friday it was a mistake for the Republican National Committee (RNC) to ban NBC and CNN from hosting debates during the 2016 primaries, saying the unanimous vote would create "bad optics."
Bad optics for the RNC to block CNN and NBC from sponsoring presidential debates. Attacking the media is a loser's game.— Eric Fehrnstrom (@EricFehrn) August 16, 2013
The RNC's decision to bar NBC and CNN from hosting debates is ostensibly a response to the networks' plans to air programming about former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonPoll: Trump holds 34-point lead in California Poll: Overwhelming majority think Trump, Clinton will be nominees Sanders fundraising fall signals fading hope MORE, who is weighing whether she will seek the Democratic presidential nomination. CNN announced that it was planning to air a feature-length film about the former first lady, while NBC is considering a four-hour miniseries starring Diane Lane as Clinton.
But Republicans are also hopeful that the move will enable them to limit the number of debates and have their candidates questioned by more friendly moderators, after a bloody 2012 nominating fight. Republican candidates participated in more than 20 debates before Romney was selected as the party's nominee.