CNN, Tea Party Express to Host 2012 Debate

Labor Day event adds to crowded GOP debate schedule
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2010 6:00 PM CST
In this Oct. 18, 2010 file photo, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks to the crowd during the kickoff of the nationwide Tea Party Express bus tour in Reno, Nev.    (AP Photo/Scott Sady)

(Newser) – America's most prominent Tea Party political action committee will join forces with CNN to host a debate for Republican presidential hopefuls, Politico reports. The Tea Party Express—notable for helping many 2010 candidates achieve victory over "establishment" Republican candidates, only to suffer defeat against Democrats—will co-host the debate, to be held Labor Day week in Tampa, Florida.

While eyebrows have been raised over the partnership of a steadfastly neutral media organization with a Tea Party group, CNN officials say it's all in the interest of providing a stimulating discourse for viewers. It's folly to ignore the TPE, says CNN political director Sam Feist, as it is "a fascinating, diverse, grass-roots force that already has drastically changed the country’s political landscape.”

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