10:33am PT by THR Staff
NBC News' Chuck Todd Calls RNC 'Smart' for Hillary Clinton Debate Boycott (Video)
NBC News' political director and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd commended the RNC for its decision to ban CNN and NBC from hosting 2016 primary debates due to projects about potential Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton that both networks have in the works.
But he's not praising the RNC's politics so much as he appreciates their attempt to limit the number of presidential debates.
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"If the RNC is trying to limit the number of debates, that's smart," he said on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "Because that will mean -- think about half of the Republican field from 2012. If they didn't have the debates, they wouldn't have run, right? They simply ran for exposure to get a radio deal or a column or a deal with Fox or whatever, whatever it is, their reasons for running. It wasn't because they thought they had a viable shot."
Todd was responding RNC chairman Reince Priebus' comments on ABC's This Week in which he said, "If you're not going to have 23 debates, these guys are making it a lot easier for us to pare that down to a reasonable number in front of people and entities that actually give a darn about the future of the Republican party."
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Later, Todd noted that the RNC's decision doesn't necessarily mean that debates couldn't occur on CNN or NBC's networks, but instead those events could be "rogue forums."
"It depends on what the campaigns want to do," Todd said. "I think there's going to be motivation by the front-runner campaigns to let the RNC play this role because they never want to have to say no. But they'd love to have someone else say, 'You know what, let's limit the number of these things.'"
Watch Todd's full comments on Morning Joe.