Monday, December 14, 2015

So what time does Tuesday's Republican debate start?

There’s currently a countdown clock during telecasts (“New Year’s Rockin’ Eve”-style), but the ticker winds down to 6 p.m. Tuesday, which is not even when the main event starts. It's merely the start of pre-debate analysis for the undercard debate, featuring long-shot candidates Mike Huckabee, Lindsey O. Graham, Rick Santorum and George Pataki. The main event with leading candidates including Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson starts at 9 p.m.

Not that you can find that start time noted in many places. CNN’s original promo, which began airing before Thanksgiving, informed viewers that the debate would indeed begin at 9.

More recently, however, CNN has advertised the debates — plural — as starting at 6 and 8:30.

On, a weekend news story bore the headline, “What time is the #GOPDebate? And everything else you need to know.” This allegedly helpful explainer article told readers that “CNN’s coverage of the first debate will begin at 6:00 p.m. ET and coverage of the second debate will start at 8:30 p.m. ET.” It even mentioned that “CNN will also offer a live stream of the debate on’s homepage and across mobile platforms from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET.”

So, you can tune in even earlier online! But you still can’t know what time the #GOPDebate really is.