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Ben Carson's Camp Wants Debates To Have 140 Minutes Of Opening And Closing Statements

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 1/11/2015 Sam Stein

Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon-turned-top presidential candidate, has not hid his displeasure with the current structure of Republican debates. His campaign finds them argumentative and disjointed, and they are spearheading a meeting on Sunday evening in Washington, D.C., to figure out ways to upend the system.

The proposal they appear set to push to the other campaigns will be to actually eliminate the debating portion of the debates.

Carson’s campaign wants to have all the candidates onstage and to give each of those candidates five minutes, minimum, for opening and closing statements, according to The Wall Street Journal.

This proposal was confirmed to The Huffington Post by a high-ranking Republican source, though during an appearance on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, Carson himself lowered the demand.

“I would like to see us be able to have a substantial opening statement, at least a minute, a substantial closing statement, at least a minute, and I would like to see tighter guidelines in terms of people when they respond to questions,” Carson said. “Some people pretty much ignore the time constraints, while others are very careful to stay within them and I think that creates inequality.”

Working off the Wall Street Journal proposal, you encounter some difficult math. If you have 14 candidates onstage and give them each five minutes for opening and then five minutes for closing, you end up having at least 140 minutes spent on those portions. 

Assume you lose about 10 minutes in candidates overrunning their allotted time and moderators queuing up the next person to speak. And then you have another ten minutes on commercial breaks. You’re looking at two hours and forty minutes spent on things other than questions and answers.

If the candidates are each given one minute for opening and closing, you still end up with 28 minutes spent on those functions. Add another 20 minutes for commercials, overruns and queuing up candidates, and you have nearly 50 minutes of a debate spent on non-debating.

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