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15 GOP Debate Clashes With the Liberal Mainstream Media

15 GOP Debate Clashes With the Liberal Mainstream Media
Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie looks on during the CNBC Republican Presidential Debate at University of Colorado's Coors Events Center October 28, 2015 in Boulder, Colorado. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 29 October 2015 08:54 AM

The GOP presidential candidates were not amused by the "gotcha"-style questions lobbed by CNBC's moderators during Wednesday's third primary debate, and they put up quite a fight.

Gathered below are 15 times debate moderators Carl Quintanilla, John Harwood, and Becky Quick took heat from the candidates, commentators, or the audience for their biased questions.

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1. Ted Cruz wallops the panel — "You know, let me say something at the outset. The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don't trust the media," Cruz told the panel before the debate was even halfway finished. "This is not a cage match. And, you look at the questions — 'Donald Trump, are you a comic-book villain?' 'Ben Carson, can you do math?' 'John Kasich, will you insult two people over here?' 'Marco Rubio, why don't you resign?' 'Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?' How about talking about the substantive issues the people care about?" he continued to loud applause from the audience.

"The contrast with the Democratic debate, where every fawning question from the media was, 'Which of you is more handsome and why?' Let me be clear. The men and women on this stage have more ideas, more experience, more common sense than every participant in the Democratic debate. That debate reflected a debate between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. And nobody watching at home believed that any of the moderators had any intention of voting in a Republican primary. The questions that are being asked shouldn't be trying to get people to tear into each other. It should be 'what are your substantive positions.'"

2. Carson defended by audience — When moderator Quintanilla tried to tie Ben Carson to a dubious nutritional supplement company, the neurosurgeon said he never gave them permission to use his picture on their website, calling Quintanilla's assertion "propaganda" disguised as a question. The moderator pressed on with a follow up question, but the audience booed and jeered when they heard it. "See? They know," said Carson.

3. Trump fires back on "comic book" question — Early in the debate, Harwood, CNBC's chief Washington correspondent and New York Times writer, thought he had Donald Trump's number, but the billionaire real estate mogul parried with an eloquent description of his policies. "Let's be honest. Is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?" Harwood asked. "No, not a comic book, and it's not a very nicely asked question the way you say that," said Trump. "Larry Kudlow is an example, who I have a lot of respect for, who loves my tax plan." Trump went on to explain that his economic plan seeks to repatriate $2.5 trillion from overseas, and that a 1,000-mile border wall with Mexico would be a small feat compared to the 13,000-mile Great Wall of China.

4. Fiorina bests Becky Quick on "gotcha" question — Asked about her firing as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina said the board member who led the charge, Tom Perkins, has now publicly endorsed her for president. Quick then tried to play guilt by association, bringing up Perkins' past comments in which he suggested millionaires should get more election votes than people who don't pay taxes. "Is this the type of person you want defending you?" asked Quick. "Well, this is one of the reasons why Tom Perkins and I had disagreements in the boardroom, Becky," Fiorina replied coolly.

5. Rubio calls media "ultimate" Democratic Super PAC — "The Democrats have the ultimate Super PAC. It's called the mainstream media," Rubio said midway through the debate, eliciting big audience applause.

"Last week, Hillary Clinton went before a committee. She admitted she had sent e-mails to her family saying, 'Hey, this attack at Benghazi was caused by Al Qaida-like elements.' She spent over a week telling the families of those victims and the American people that it was because of a video. And yet the mainstream media is going around saying it was the greatest week in Hillary Clinton's campaign. It was the week she got exposed as a liar. But she has her super PAC helping her out, the American mainstream media."

6. Rubio points out Harwood's repeated error — "The Tax Foundation, which was alluded to earlier, scored your tax plan and concluded that you give nearly twice as much of a gain in after-tax income to the top 1 percent as to people in the middle of the income scale. Since you're the champion of Americans living paycheck-to- paycheck, don't you have that backward?" asked Harwood.

Rubio corrected him, and also alluded to Harwood's previous reporting error, which was acknowledged by Harwood himself in an Oct. 14 tweet. "No, that's — you're wrong. In fact, the largest after-tax gains is for the people at the lower end of the tax spectrum under my plan. And there's a bunch of things my tax plan does to help them . . . you wrote a story on it, and you had to go back and correct it," said Rubio.

7. Huckabee's necktie stirs snide moderators — "I love Donald Trump. He is a good man. I’m wearing a Trump tie tonight. Get over that one," said a smiling Huckabee after he was asked whether the billionaire businessman has the moral authority to unite the country. "Is it made in China or Mexico?" asked not one but two moderators, talking over each other. "Such a nasty — such a nasty question, but thank you, Governor," said Trump. "You're welcome," said Huckabee.

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8. Christie slams Fantasy Football question — "Carl, are we really talking about getting government involved in fantasy football?" Christie said after Quintanilla asked a question about possibly regulating the activity.

"We have — wait a second, we have $19 trillion in debt. We have people out of work. We have ISIS and al-Qaida attacking us. And we're talking about fantasy football? Can we stop?" he said, eliciting applause from the audience. "How about this? How about we get the government to do what they're supposed to be doing, secure our borders, protect our people, and support American values and American families. Enough on fantasy football. Let people play, who cares?"

9. Christie calls moderator "rude" — As the governor was explaining his stance on energy investment, moderator Harwood interrupted him. "John, do you want me to answer or do you want to answer? How are we going to do this? Because, I've got to tell you the truth, even in New Jersey what you're doing is called rude," he said.

10. Trump on debate length
— "Nobody wants to watch three and a half or three hours . . . And in about two minutes, I renegotiated it to two hours, so we could get the hell out of here," said Trump. "Just for the record, the debate was always going to be two hours," responded Harwood. "That’s not right. That’s absolutely not right," Trump hit back.

11. It was a shooting gallery, not a debate — Ed Meese, the former Attorney General for the Reagan administration, summed up the two-hour debate with a scathing comment on the bias of the mainstream media, saying, "After 15 minutes it was clear that this was not a debate, but a verbal shooting gallery set up by CNBC, with the targets the Republican candidates and the shooters their biased antagonists from the press. Ted Cruz accurately described what was going on. Whoever selected the 'moderators' should be fired and the RNC leaders who allowed it should be condemned."

12. RNC Chair lashes out — "CNBC should be ashamed of how this debate was handled," the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, tweeted immediately following the debate. "I will fight to ensure future debates allow for a more robust exchange. In spite of the moderators, I'm proud of our team for standing up against the improper and unprofessional display put on by CNBC."

13. CNBC a "train wreck" — "This was an absolute train wreck for CNBC. Many of the moderators' questions seemed to me to be snide, hostile, condescending, borderline-insulting," Howard Kurtz, host of Fox News Channel's "Media Buzz" program, said in his post-debate analysis.

14. Focus group hates CNBC's performance
— Famous focus-group maven Frank Luntz tweeted after the debate that "23 of tonight's 26 focus group participants watched all three #GOPDebate broadcasts. They ALL said @CNBC mods were the worst."

15. Sean Hannity says it best —The Fox News personality summed up the night in a very pithy tweet: "The candidates beat the moderators tonight."

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The GOP presidential candidates were not amused by the "gotcha"-style questions lobbed by CNBC's moderators during Wednesday's third primary debate, and they put up quite a fight. Here are 15 times the moderators took heat from the candidates, commentators, or the audience.
gop, debate, clashes, media, mainstream
Thursday, 29 October 2015 08:54 AM
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