Fox has decided to spare those at the back of the GOP pack the indignity of being excluded even from the "consolation prize" debate. The network is holding a debate for "second-tier" candidates at 5pm on Aug. 6, ahead of the main event at 9pm, and it has decided to drop the requirement that candidates must be polling at least 1%, reports Politico. This will make sure candidates like Carly Fiorina, George Pataki, and Lindsey Graham get at least some stage time, and a Politico analysis of the latest polls suggests they'll be joined at the "pre-debate" by Rick Santorum, John Kasich, and Bobby Jindal.
The 10 spots at the main debate are reserved for those at the top of the polls, which the AP notes has caused a scramble for attention among those in danger of being sidelined—and of losing any chance of being taken seriously. Those at the bottom of the polls have different attitudes toward the Fox parameters, the Hill reports. Graham told reporters last week that the Fox requirements "suck," while a Pataki spokesman says the earlier debate "might end up being more substantive because the candidates won't have to respond to whatever idiotic thing Donald Trump says." Politico predicts that at the main debate, Trump will be joined by Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, and Chris Christie. (Read more Republican debate stories.)