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Nov 9, 2015 10:43 PM

Steinhauser: Gilmore slams exclusion from GOP debates

NH1 Political Director -

CONCORD – Jim Gilmore isn’t happy that he’s been excluded from the first four Republican presidential debates.

“I’m perfectly qualified to be on the stage. I’m better qualified than most of the other candidates,” the former Virginia governor and longshot for the GOP nomination told reporters on Monday.

Gilmore made his comments after filing at the State House to place his name on the first-in-the-nation primary ballot.

Gilmore was the only declared candidate to be excluded from the first three debates because of his extremely low numbers in the national polls used to determine which candidates would qualify for the showdowns. At Tuesday’s debate in Milwaukee that’s being hosted by Fox Business News, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and former New York Gov. George Pataki (who both took part in the first three debates) are joining Gilmore in being excluded.

Asked by NH1 News what it says about the Republican Party that the only two veterans who are running for president can’t get on the debate stage, Gilmore said “I think it’s wrong. Lindsey Graham’s been an Army lawyer. I have been a trained as a solider and then assigned to Europe as an intelligence agent during the Cold War.”

Gilmore went on to tout his experience, saying it was vital at a time when the U.S. faces such disorder across the globe.

“What do I think of the Republican Party. I think that the process is not good. And there’s no reason in the world why Graham and I shouldn’t be on the stage,” he added.

Gilmore then said “you know what, it doesn’t matter.

“Sure I’d like to be on the stage getting all that attention. I’m not ashamed to say that,” he said. “But so what. My job’s to come here to New Hampshire and speak out to the people in this state, who still can level the playing field.”

Gilmore said that if the Republican National Committee “wanted to provide real leadership, they could very simply divide the field of 15 into two, eight and seven, and draw straws. Have two debates and draw straws.”

Gilmore’s fundraising has been paltry, but he said “I’m raising enough money to run my campaign,” and touted that he paid the $40,000 filing fee to get on the South Carolina primary ballot (the fee in New Hampshire is just $1,000).

And Gilmore sided with the press after Ben Carson, one of the front runners in the race for the GOP nomination, lashed out at the media for the increased scrutiny he’s been receiving recently.

“If the press wants to scrutinize his books and ask him about what he wrote, I think that’s legitimate,” Gilmore said. “The press are trying to do their jobs. They ask the tough questions because they think the public is entitled to know the answers to some of the tough questions.”

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