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McCotter also decries exclusion from upcoming GOP debate

A Michigan Congressman says rules connected to invitations to an upcoming 2012 GOP presidential debate appear to have purposefully excluded certain candidates, including himself, from participating.

“The great irony at work — especially with the Reagan Library debate — is going to be the fact that two frontrunners weren’t even Republicans during the Reagan administration, whereas people like myself at the age of 21 were,” McCotter said during an appearance on Fox Business.

The Simi Valley, Calif. debate is slated for Sept. 7 and is being co-sponsored by NBC News and The Politico, which have established rules that only candidates who have received “at least four percent support as the preferred nominee among Republicans in a methodologically sound and recognized national poll conducted by one of the following survey organization since the November 2010 elections: Gallop, Bloomberg, NBC/WSJ, ABC/Washington Post, CBS/The New York Times, CNN, Fox and Associated Press.”

Inclusion is open, organizers say, to “all Republicans who have a reasonable prospect of becoming the GOP nominee and who have demonstrated that they are in a credible position to be a principal competitor in the early stages of the nominating contest.”

Using such a standard, it’s clear that U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Atlanta businessman Herman Cain make the cut, and they are all expected to participate.

Also expected to be on the stage, however, are former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum — candidates who, according to the latest Gallup poll, do not break 4 percent. But because the organizers did not stipulate that the polling must be recent, nor that the poll had to include the existing field or be exclusive to candidates who have actually committed to be in the race.

That means some candidates can pull polls from months ago — prior to Perry’s announcement — or polls that spread the already congested field by including non-committed candidates like Donald Trump, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin or former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Those who don’t make the cut include McCotter, former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and political strategist Fred Karger.

“It’s especially disheartening when you know that people who are on that stage are either tied with me in the polls, as a ‘tertiary candidate,’‟ and have been running and spending millions of dollars, or are within very close proximity to us in the polls,” McCotter said.

“As a Detroiter, you put your nose to the grindstone; you work hard, and try to make things happen.”

On Thursday the Johnson campaign also questioned the rules being used to invite some and exclude others from the debate process.

Clips of McCotter’s appearance on Fox Business are embedded below:

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