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Despite Republicans' calls, ABC declines to include Fiorina in debate

Ted Cruz: 'Mistake' to exclude Fiorina from ABC debate
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Story highlights

  • GOP candidates and party elders called on ABC News to put Carly Fiorina on stage for Saturday's Republican debate
  • Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich pointed out that Fiorina outperformed Ohio Gov. John Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in Iowa, but both men will still appear on stage Saturday

Washington (CNN)ABC announced Thursday that Carly Fiorina did not make the cut to appear at this weekend's debate, despite calls from several prominent Republicans who wanted her on the New Hampshire stage.

The network announced that Saturday's debate, which will not have an "undercard" event, will feature Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
    Cruz and Carson had joined former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich earlier Thursday to call on ABC News to put Fiorina on the stage.
    Romney and Gingrich pointed out that Fiorina outperformed Kasich and Christie in Iowa, but both men will still appear on stage Saturday.
    "Hey @ABC: put @CarlyFiorina on the debate stage! She got more Iowa votes than John and Chris. Don't exclude only woman," Romney tweeted Thursday. The tweet was quickly blasted out by Fiorina's campaign.
    ".@ABC should put @CarlyFiorina in the new hampshire debate. she came in ahead of kasich and christie. She has earned a spot," Gingrich tweeted.
    Later Thursday, the Texas senator also called on ABC and the Republican National Committee to include Fiorina in the event, saying it would be a "mistake" for her to be excluded.
    "She has worked hard, won a diligent campaign," Cruz told reporters in Weare, New Hampshire, adding that her presence on stage would be a "beneficial element."
    Carson joined the chorus Thursday evening, tweeting that candidates should all be included.
    "With 9 Republicans left, I call on the RNC to get rid of arbitrary requirements for debates. Americans deserve to hear from every candidate," Carson tweeted.
    The criteria for the debate did not include any candidate who did not finish in the top-three in the Iowa caucuses or poll in the top six positions either nationally or in New Hampshire.
    Fiorina wrote a letter to the RNC Wednesday demanding she appear on the main stage.
    Fiorina's request follows a dismal showing in the Iowa caucuses and as multiple other candidates have ended their bids, including Sen. Rand Paul, former Sen. Rick Santorum and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.