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    CPD co-founder says Biden campaign urged CNN to promise RFK Jr will not participate in debate

    By Ross O'Keefe,

    30 days ago

    Commission on Presidential Debates co-founder Frank Fahrenkopf claimed that President Joe Biden’s campaign urged CNN to “promise that they wouldn’t let [ Robert F Kennedy Jr. ] in regardless” to its June 27 debate.

    Fahrenkopf also implied that Kennedy could file a lawsuit given a potential violation of Federal Election Commission rules.

    When asked if this constituted a violation, Fahrenkopf told Politico, “It could, but my lawyering days are over. I’ll leave that to the lawyers on both sides. But it’s an issue certainly to raise. I’m surprised. When this thing went down yesterday I said, 'Boy, I bet Kennedy is going to file some lawsuit somewhere.'"

    The third-party candidate entered the presidential race as an independent after dropping out of the Democratic primary against Biden. Some have called Kennedy a "spoiler" for Biden, speculating he may draw enough votes for former President Donald Trump to win the election.

    Both candidates have escalated their attacks against Kennedy in recent months, with Trump calling him a "Democrat plant" and Biden currying favor among the Kennedy family, who endorsed Biden over their own family member.

    Kennedy previously announced he “will meet the criteria to participate in the CNN debate before the June 20 deadline.”

    He doesn’t currently meet CNN debate’s requirements, which state that each candidate must win at least 15% in four different national polls and qualify for enough state ballots to reach 270 electoral votes.

    CNN declined to comment on Fahrenkopf's assertions for this article.

    Kennedy's national polling average is 9.7% as of May 17, though CNN had him at a 13% average across prominent national polls. His campaign website says petitioning has been completed to account for 201 electoral votes so far.

    According to Fahrenkopf, only seven states have completed their work on who can be on the ballot in the fall, for a total of 110 electoral votes.

    He said most states don’t say who is on their ballot until Sept. 6, making it impossible for Kennedy to fulfill the ballot requirement before the June 27 debate.

    Fahrenkopf speculated that Kennedy could circumvent the ballot access restriction by joining the Libertarian Party as its nominee, which would automatically grant him ballot access to every state.

    That would only leave the 15% polling cutoff, which the third-party candidate is gaining on but only has about a month left to meet. Trump and Biden will also meet Sept. 10 for an ABC presidential debate.

    The Washington Examiner did not receive a comment from Kennedy's campaign before publication.

    Both candidates were originally scheduled to debate under CPD-sponsored debates but have pulled out of them in favor of their own independent debates.


    Fox News recently requested to hold a vice presidential debate, though it’s unclear whether Kennedy's running mate, Nicole Shanahan, is invited.

    The Washington Examiner reached out to the Biden campaign but did not receive a response.

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