By Scott Malone
BOSTON, Aug 16 (Reuters) - The U.S. Republican party resolved on Friday to boycott any 2016 presidential debates sponsored by CNN and NBC if the networks go ahead with plans to make special programs on Hillary Clinton, who is widely expected to seek the Democratic nomination.
Delegates to a meeting of the Republican National Committee voted for a resolution including the boycott and said the programs would be "little more than extended commercials promoting former Secretary Clinton."
The RNC also resolved that it would require that any future debates have "appropriate moderators and debate partners."
Delegates approved the motion by a unanimous voice vote.
Republican leaders last week sent letters of protest to both networks complaining that a planned CNN documentary and an NBC miniseries amount to political ads for the former secretary of state and wife of former President Bill Clinton. She has not confirmed whether she is running.
The vote came on the last day of a three-day gathering called "Making it Happen," at which Republicans discussed ways to use technology and other means to connect with a wider range of voters, following Mitt Romney's failure to unseat incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama in last November's election.
CNN officials have said their documentary, due to appear in theaters and on television in 2014, is not yet complete, while NBC said its mini-series is being produced by an entertainment unit, which is independent of the news division.
In preparation for the next presidential election, RNC Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said the party would consider holding its 2016 nominating convention in June or July, rather than August, to reduce the amount of time Republican candidates spend competing against one another to win the nomination. An earlier convention also would allow the Republican nominee to focus on the Democratic opponent.
"A network that spends millions of dollars to spotlight Hillary Clinton, that's a network with an obvious bias and that's a network that won't be hosting a single Republican primary debate," Priebus said on Friday. "We're done putting up with this nonsense ... The media overplayed their hand this time."
A Democratic Party spokesman said the move would only limit Republicans' ability to reach more voters.
"If they truly want to connect with a broader audience, they need an agenda that fights for the middle class and is inclusive," said Michael Czin, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee. "Sadly, it appears that with today's vote, their approach is to actually speak to even fewer voters."
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, seen as a likely 2016 Republican contender for the White House, addressed the meeting in a closed-door session Thursday.
Clinton, the former U.S. senator from New York, ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination in 2008, losing to Obama, but Republicans at the Boston meeting clearly saw her as a threat.
Republicans are holding their regular summer meeting in a Boston hotel next door to the convention center where Romney delivered his election night concession speech nine months ago. They moved the meeting, originally due to be held in Chicago, to Boston as a show of support after the April 15 bombing of the city's marathon.