NewsMax ION Television 2012 Presidential Debate

ed. This proposed debate was controversial from the time it was announced on Dec. 2, 2011.  On Dec. 13 Trump announced he would pull out as moderator:


Debate Scheduled to Air Live Tuesday, December 27 at 8PM ET from Des Moines, IA on ION Television Nationwide and Online

NEW YORK – December 2, 2011 Newsmax Media and ION Television will collaborate to host a presidential debate on Tuesday, December 27th from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. ET. The Republican debate will be moderated by businessman Donald Trump, a truly great American, at the Hoyt Sherman Theater in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Newsmax ION Television Debate will be televised live nationwide on ION Television and online by The debate will be the final meeting of the Republican candidates before the Iowa Caucus on January 3, 2012. All of the major Republican presidential candidates have been invited to participate.

“The Newsmax ION Television 2012 Presidential Debate will offer all the major Republican candidates a forum to reach likely primary voters in all key states,” says Christopher Ruddy, Newsmax CEO. “There have been numerous debates so far, but we believe that the Newsmax ION Television 2012 Presidential Debate will provide a unique opportunity for the concerns of likely primary voters to be voiced on a national stage.”

“All voters will keep an eye on this final debate before the first presidential primary of the 2012 election,” says Brandon Burgess, Chairman and CEO, ION Media Networks. “ION’s and Newsmax’s powerful combined audience reach, coupled with the prominence of Donald Trump as moderator, makes this one of the most influential meetings of the candidates to date.”

ION Television reaches 99 million households and is the largest owner of television stations in America. ION Television is a leading U.S. general entertainment network, combining high-quality programming and dependable broadcast distribution with an attitude of innovation and growth normally associated with a cable channel. Its "Positively Entertaining" network brand positioning features a formula of proven series, an expansive catalog of blockbuster movies, and a commitment to introduce new original programming. Since its launch in 2008, ION has become one of the top-15-rated U.S. TV networks in record time. For more information, visit

ABOUT NEWSMAX is the largest online conservative news outlet in the nation. Nielsen ranks Newsmax among the top news websites with more than 7.3 million unique visitors monthly. For more information on the debate, please go to:

Christina Gilmartin
ION Media Networks

Steve Coz
Newsmax Media

from Newsmax Wires
December 4, 2011
Former CNN Chief Heads Up Newsmax ION Presidential Debate

A prestigious team of some of the top producers in network and cable television news, including the former head of CNN's news division, has been assembled to produce the Newsmax ION Television 2012 Presidential Debate to be moderated by businessman Donald J. Trump.

Newsmax Media and ION Television announced the production team, which collectively has more than a century of experience in managing major network coverage of U.S. presidential debates and elections on Sunday.

"ION, Newsmax, and Mr. Trump are committed to host a serious presidential forum which will include some of the most reputable journalists and media people in the nation," said Brandon Burgess, CEO and Chairman of ION Television.

The ION Television network reaches more than 99 million U.S. homes. During prime time, ION typically has more viewers than any major cable news channel in the key demographic 25-54 group.

The debate also willalso streamed at Newsmax is the nation's leading conservative online media publisher, reaching more than 10 million readers monthly.

"With Donald Trump and the top-notch media and production team led by Eason Jordan we have organized, we expect The Newsmax ION 2012 Presidential Debate will have the largest audience of any Republican primary debate to date," Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy said.

On Sunday, Newsmax and ION Television announced several key staff for their debate:
  • Eason Jordan, executive producer — Jordan worked for 23 years with CNN, where he served as chief news executive and president of news gathering and international networks. Jordan's journalistic honors include Emmy Awards, Peabody Awards, Edward R. Murrow Awards, Headliner Awards, ACE Awards, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Vanguard Award, and the Livingston Award. He is the founder and CEO of Poll Position, a news, polling, and social media company. He is also a member of the Council of Foreign Relations.
  • John Reade, senior producer — A CBS News veteran, he produced CBS News' big event coverage and programs from 1996-2009 including two 2008 presidential debates. Reade is an expert at producing and covering election nights, political debates, and political conventions. He also produced the TV coverage of the 1988 vice presidential debate and the 1992 presidential debate. He is a four-time Emmy winner.
  • Larry Register, media coordinator — Register is a five-time Emmy-winning media special projects expert who has worked for more than three decades with CNN, NBC News, and other news organizations. At CNN, was vice president for special projects, Jerusalem bureau chief, and executive producer. He worked as a producer at NBC News before helping build and launch TV news networks in India and Bangladesh. He now is the senior editor at Poll Position.
  • Earl Maple, director — An award-winning director of TV news programs and special events, Maple served as CNN's senior director from 1980-2003 during which he directed CNN's coverage of political debates, political conventions, and election nights. His live debate experience included directing the telecast of the 1996 debate between Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, as well as the vice presidential debate that year between Al Gore and Jack Kemp. After leaving CNN, he served as a director of SEC college football game telecasts.
The Newsmax ION Television media team will be organizing the live debate event set for Dec. 27 in Des Moines, Iowa — the last major debate before the Iowa caucuses.

The invitations to the debate were sent out Friday afternoon and already both former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum have officially accepted.

PRESS RELEASE from American Conservative Union
December 6, 2011

ACU to Cosponsor Newsmax ION Television 2012 Presidential Debate
ACU Chairman Al Cardenas Encourages All Candidates to Attend

ALEXANDRIA, VA – The American Conservative Union (ACU) Chairman Al Cardenas today issued the following statement regarding the upcoming Newsmax ION Television 2012 Presidential Debate, scheduled for December 27, in Des Moines, Iowa. The ACU, host of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), will be a sponsor of the debate.

“The American Conservative Union is proud to sponsor the upcoming Newsmax ION Television 2012 Presidential Debate.

“Debates have already played a key role in this nominating process and present our best opportunity for comparing and contrasting candidates on core conservative issues. As the critical Iowa Caucuses quickly approach, we must continue vetting the field to ensure conservatives put forward a tested, competent leader to challenge President Obama next fall.

“We strongly encourage all Republican presidential candidates to participate. This will be a serious debate focused on serious issues. Conservatives across the nation will appreciate a debate hosted by a trusted conservative media outlet like Newsmax that includes a spirited conversation with the candidates, led by Donald Trump, a crowd favorite among CPAC attendees.”

STATEMENT from the Tea Party Express via Newsmax
December 8, 2011

Statement: Tea Party Express to Cosponsor The Newsmax ION Television 2012 Presidential Debate

The Tea Party Express, the dominant Tea Party political action committee, endorses The Newsmax ION Television 2012 Presidential Debate to be hosted by Donald Trump.

Amy Kremer, Chairman of the Tea Party Express, said, “I hope all of the candidates will participate in this debate on the eve of the Iowa caucuses. Newsmax has been an indispensable part of the conservative media that keeps voters informed of the critical issues facing America. As the co-sponsor of the CNN/Tea Party Express Presidential Debate on September 12th in Tampa, Florida, we know the hard work that goes into a successful debate. We applaud Newsmax and Donald Trump for taking on this project for the sake of our country.”

The debate is scheduled for Dec. 27 in Des Moines, Iowa. It will be available in 99 million homes throughout America on the ION Television network, and it also will be streamed on

“We are proud to join with Newsmax and other conservative organizations as a sponsor of this debate. Donald Trump has demonstrated his keen interest in restoring a responsible conservative to the White House, and his celebrity and commitment to conservative policies make him an ideal moderator for the debate.

“The multitude of presidential debates has brought the presidential campaigns into living rooms across America. In combination with social media and expanded use of the internet, voters are getting much better acquainted with the candidates, their backgrounds, stands on issues and plans for America’s future. It will contribute to more informed voting in the crucial early battleground states and help conservatives select the best possible Republican nominee to defeat Barack Obama.

“We intend to encourage tea party activists from across the nation to watch the debate and to get involved in the campaign of the candidate of their choice. With an informed and engaged electorate, we will be sure to defeat Obama in 2012 and restore some semblance of economic sanity to Washington,” Kremer concluded.
December 13, 2011
Statement from Donald J. Trump

“The Republican Party candidates are very concerned that sometime after the final episode of The Apprentice, on May 20th, when the equal time provisions are no longer applicable to me, I will announce my candidacy for President of the United States as an Independent and that, unless I conclusively agree not to run as an Independent, they will not agree to attend or be a part of the Newsmax debate scheduled for December 27, 2011. It is very important to me that the right Republican candidate be chosen to defeat the failed and very destructive Obama Administration, but if that Republican, in my opinion, is not the right candidate, I am not willing to give up my right to run as an Independent candidate. Therefore, so that there is no conflict of interest within the Republican Party, I have decided not to be the moderator of the Newsmax debate. The American people are embarrassed by the gridlock currently taking place in Washington. I must leave all of my options open because, above all else, we must make America great again!

“I would like to thank Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum for having the courage, conviction, and confidence to immediately accept being a part of the Newsmax debate. I believe this would not only have been the most watched debate, but also the most substantive and interesting debate!”

From the Candidates

PRESS RELEASE from Jon Huntsman for President

December 2, 2011

Huntsman Campaign Accepts Lincoln-Douglas Debate With Gingrich; Turns Down The Donald

Manchester- Jon Huntsman for President today announced that Governor Huntsman will be participating in a Lincoln-Douglas style debate with Newt Gingrich in New Hampshire this month. Details pending negotiations with the Gingrich campaign.  

In addition, our campaign is declining the invitation to participate in the Donald Trump Apprentice Debate on December 27th.

Campaign spokesman Tim Miller issued the following statement:

"We look forward to discussing the issues that matter to the American people in a serious, substantive debate with Speaker Gingrich later this month.  It is telling that Governor Romney has declined to participate because this substantive format makes it hard for him to hide from his record.

In addition, we have declined to participate in the 'Presidential Apprentice' Debate with The Donald.  The Republican Party deserves a serious discussion of the issues so voters can choose a leader they trust to defeat President Obama and turn our economy around. We are confident that leader will be Jon Huntsman."

PRESS RELEASE from Ron Paul 2012 PCC

For Immediate Release December 3, 2011
Contact: Gary Howard
Ron Paul Campaign Rejects Trump Iowa Debate 
Trump’s participation will contribute to circus-like atmosphere and is odd considering his slight to RPI

ANKENY, Iowa – The Ron Paul 2012 Presidential campaign released the following statement concerning the selection of Donald Trump as moderator for the December 27th Republican debate to be held in Iowa.  Below please find comments from Ron Paul 2012 National Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton:
“The Ron Paul 2012 Presidential Campaign Committee rejects the selection of Donald Trump as moderator for the Republican presidential debate to be held on December 27th in Iowa. 
“We have conferred with our Iowa campaign chairman Drew Ivers and vice-chairmen David Fischer and A.J. Spiker who are all RPI State Central Committee Members, and they concur with this decision.
“The selection of a reality television personality to host a presidential debate that voters nationwide will be watching is beneath the office of the Presidency and flies in the face of that office’s history and dignity.  Mr. Trump’s participation as moderator will distract from questions and answers concerning important issues such as the national economy, crushing federal government debt, the role of the federal government, foreign policy, and the like.  To be sure, Mr. Trump’s participation will contribute to an unwanted circus-like atmosphere.
“Mr. Trump’s selection is also wildly inappropriate because of his record of toying with the serious decision of whether to compete for our nation’s highest office, a decision he appeared to make frivolously.  The short-lived elevation of Mr. Trump’s stature as a candidate put him on the radar of many organizations and we recall that last spring he was invited to keynote the Republican Party of Iowa’s annual Reagan Dinner, yet at the last minute he left RPI holding the bag by canceling.  In turn, RPI canceled its biggest fundraising gala of the year and suffered embarrassment and in addition RPI was required to engage in refunding measures.  Our candidate will not even consider participating in the late-December debate until Mr. Trump publicly apologizes to Iowa party leaders and rectifies in full the situation.
“Therefore our candidate Ron Paul, the champion of the Constitution, has advised he will not attend.”


Mitt Romney will not participate (Dec. 6 Romney called Trump; said his calendar is set for December).

Michele Bachmann will participate (Dec. 7 confirmed to ed. by Bob Heckman of the campaign).

PRESS RELEASES from Rick Santorum for President

December 8, 2011
For Immediate Release 
Contact: Matt Beynon

Verona, PA - Early this week, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich both agreed to participate in the NewsMax debate this December to be moderated by Donald Trump.   Many in the media, political pundits and even some Republican Presidential Candidates have mocked the very idea - while some of the candidates are still weighing options.


Santorum issued the following statement about the upcoming debate:


"Many of my opponents jockeyed to be the first to fly up to New York and use Donald Trump for a photo op and no doubt try and secure an endorsement.  But when Donald wants to moderate a debate - they refuse to attend. That's what's so wrong with politics today - hypocrisy. At this critical time in our nation's history, just weeks before Iowan's cast this important vote - many of the other candidates want to hide behind TV ads and mail pieces.  We plan to be there front and center in person to debate Newt directly, and if it's just the two of us, we're fine with it.


There's no doubt that any of us are better than Barack Obama - however, we can't afford to put up a person who can't clearly articulate a vision or has a glass jaw or a unprincipled past.  Donald Trump knows business and knows global markets - and we all know he'll be able to bring in a broad audience. And let's be honest, at least Donald Trump will have more in common with the candidates than with vast majority of past moderators."

To learn more about former Senator Rick Santorum, please visit



December 13, 2011
For Immediate Release 
Contact: Matt Beynon


Verona, PA - Donald Trump stepped down today as the moderator the highly publicized NewsMax debate in Iowa on December 27th. The debate promised to be truly substantive and informative, as the only two confirmed participants were Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.


Senator Santorum said: ""The media has anointed Newt as the frontrunner, isn't it time he go toe to toe with the consistent conservative alternative?  The people of Iowa deserve as many opportunities to hear from the candidates as possible, because while Obama is beatable, we have to elect a conservative nominee who's record is a clear contrast to the President's."

To learn more about former Senator Rick Santorum, please visit