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Nancy Reagan invites 16 candidates to CNN GOP presidential debate


GOP presidential candidates from left, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Scott Walker, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and John Kasich take the stage for the first Republican presidential debate, Aug. 6, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Former first lady Nancy Reagan is inviting 16 Republican candidates to participate in the CNN/Reagan Library presidential debate. Candidates must achieve an average of at least 1 percent of support in three national presidential polls before Sept. 10 to be included in the Sept. 16 debate at the Air Force One Pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.

The top 10 contenders who made it into the first GOP debate last week on Fox News — Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, John Kasich — have all been invited, as well as six of the seven candidates who participated in the earlier debate: Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham and George Pataki. Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore has not yet been invited.

The CNN event will be broken into two back-to-back debates with two groups of candidates. CNN’s Jake Tapper will moderate both debate groups.

“Debates are a crucial part of the election process, and I’m thrilled that so many qualified candidates have the opportunity to be heard at the Reagan Presidential Library,” Reagan, the widow of late President Ronald Reagan, said in a press release.

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(h/t CNN)

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