To Members of the Mainstream Media,
After some internal discussion and with much reluctance, we, the campaigns of the Republican presidential candidates, have decided that we must continue to use you for further televised debates as using Fox News exclusively could bring legal complications and a large portion of our voter base does not understand online video streaming. That said, these presidential hopefuls will no longer tolerate the treatment they have received in the last televised debates. We are not a traveling circus. This collection of candidates have toured this great nation raising questions about important social and economic issues. They deserve the proper respect that they have earned.
In an effort to facilitate a more civilized conversation, the campaigns have created a list of new rules for all subsequent debates for this election cycle. We have circumvented the Republican National Committee (RNC), which would normally advocate for such guidelines on our behalf, as the RNC has shown gross incompetence with how they handled prior debates.
Please take the time to read these new guidelines and accommodate the candidates accordingly.
- All fifteen GOP nominees will be given equal time and equal treatment. This “kids’ table / adults’ table” separation needs to stop. While there are enough candidates to roster a high school football team, all of the candidates deserve “quarterback levels” of attention.
- The venue must be supplied with exactly 100 supporters for each candidate. Jim Gilmore’s supporters may be supplemented with scarecrows
- All candidates should have their Twitter hashtags trending at number one for equal durations throughout the evening.
- Each candidate will get a unique, high energy entrance song set to pyrotechnics.
- Debates may not last longer than two hours. These three and a half hour marathon debates are brutal on Governor Christie’s knees. Furthermore, Governor Christie requires a chair.
- Donald Trump will bring his own $25,000 chair upholstered with the finest albino buffalo leather. Trump would like to go on the record as saying, “Standing is for losers.”
- We think Ben Carson mumbled something about a chair. Please bring him a chair as well.
- Jeb Bush is unsure if he wants a chair. Leave a chair by the side of the stage and he will decide if he wants it when the debate begins.
- Each candidate will get 90 seconds to respond to a question and 60 seconds for any rebuttals. These times may be extended to 180 seconds if the candidate feels he is making a good point.
- If another contender mentions a candidate’s name, home state, or favorite color, then the candidate is allowed to issue a 60 second follow up or a rebuttal.
- All candidates have three timeouts per debate half. Each timeout may last up to two minutes. During timeouts, candidates may huddle with campaign managers and donors offstage.
- Before the previous debates, the conditions of the green rooms were deplorable. Each campaign team requires a separate six room office suite for the candidate and his staffers to properly prepare for the evening’s event.
- Host networks must supply campaign staffers with duplicates of all audio equipment so that candidates can practice speaking with the real equipment. Staffers will use this information to adjust your network’s microphone levels as well.
- Candidates will no longer give opening statements. Furthermore, candidates may arrive up to 20 minutes late for the start of the debate (up to 40 minutes in the event of traffic delays or heavy rain). Networks may use this time to update viewers on the latest candidates’ hashtags or provide social media banter.
- The campaigns have agreed on a list of approved debate moderators: Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, Duck Dynasty’s Phil Roberson, that older guy from NCIS, and Carly Rae Jepsen. If anyone not from this approved list is selected as a moderator, the candidates will leave the stage.
- Each candidate must be asked actually five questions from the moderators during the course of the debate. These questions must be submitted to the campaigns no later than two weeks prior to the debate. These questions must be broken down as follows:
1 question that makes the candidate seem like an average Joe/Jane. These may be questions about his fantasy football team, favorite alcoholic beverage, or exploiting loopholes in the Dodd-Frank Act to hide taxable derivatives.
2 questions directed at the candidate’s core campaign message. Questions about oversimplified tax plans or how we need another Benghazi hearing work well here.
1 question that allows the candidate to conveniently blame something on Obama or Hillary.
1 question asking the candidate how much he or she loves America.
- Absolutely no “gotcha questions,” “zingers,” or “loaded questions” may be asked to any candidate at any time during the debate.
- Questions regarding math, in any form, will not allowed during debates. The bookworms can figure out how to divide the amount of money in social security by the 65 million beneficiaries. We are too busy trying to build a border wall / border fence / double border fence / river of cobras.
- Carly Fiorina demands that the hosting network play videos of late-term abortions and videos of Planned Parenthood trying to sell fetuses. These videos should be played in a box in the bottom right corner of the screen throughout the debate and during commercial breaks.
- Ben Carson’s aids have informed us that he would like six liters of lemon-lime Gatorade within arms reach at all times.
- Each nominee will be given three lifelines: poll the audience, 50/50, or phone a political analyst. These may be used at any time during the debate.
- Podiums should have individual climate controls to allow each candidate to obtain proper comfort levels. Temperatures must be adjustable between 50 degrees and 95 degrees, relative humidities between 0 and 90% in 5% increments must be available, and pressure regulators must be capable of simulating altitudes from sea level to 15,000 feet. Temperatures of moderators and those in attendance must be kept below 50 degrees.
- Networks must refrain from showing coverage of Black Lives Matter supporters for six hours before and after the debate.
- Some declining poll numbers have been linked to shoddy camerawork during previous debates. The presidential contenders have each purchased a small unmanned aerial vehicle with video and audio equipment. These cameras will be used to provide supporters at home with proper HD coverage of the candidates. Networks may use the video recorded from the candidates’ UAVs during broadcast only after copyright agreements have been approved and for a fee of $200 per minute.
- Ben Carson wrote on a napkin that he would like a dedicated nap time to be scheduled mid-debate. All of the other candidates agreed.
- Networks are not allowed to provoke candidate-on-candidate attacks. Instead, all candidates’ responses and rebuttals will be made in a passive-aggressive manner. These rebuttals may be translated into more hostile statements by viewers’ badly written Twitter comments scrolling at the bottom of the screen.
- The candidates demand to have a pregnant Mexican teenager brought before them so they can degrade her in a televised public forum.
- Each candidate will receive 30 seconds to make a closing statement. Candidates may use any remaining timeouts to add time to their closing statements.
- Finally, there are an absurd number of debates. Candidates are running out of ways to blame Democrats for any of our nation’s social and foreign policy failures.
Please be aware that candidates may not participate in future debates if these guidelines are not met.
Benjamin L. Ginsberg
Jones Day Law Firm
On Behalf of Campaign Staffs for Republican Presidential Nominees 2016