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Posted by on Oct 29, 2015 in 2016 Elections, 2016 Presidential Election, Featured, Politics | 21 comments

Republican Presidential Debate Rumble on CNBC: Who was helped, who was hurt, and who was despised (the media): News blog Twitter Roundup (FINAL UPDATE)

So who is perceived to have won tonight’s Republican Presidential nomination hopefuls’ debate on CNBC? Going into the debate, it was being billed as the last chance for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, with plummeting poll numbers, staff cutbacks and family members. Did he succeed? Front runner Donald Trump was becoming less of a front-runner with Ben Carson on the ascent and even beating him in some polls. Did he halt the erosion? Did Carson leave a good impression for those considering to give him support as they read about him on the ascent? And then there’s Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, locked in a high-stakes battle with former mentor Jeb Bush and rumored to be the choice of establishment types and GOP billionaires if Bush stumbles.

If there are three bits of consensus that fly out to you faster than a bat-out-of-you-know-where on the consensus among pundits on cable TV and on the Internet, it’s these:

(1) Jeb Bush didn’t hit it out of the ballpark. In fact, he hardly got up to bat and his handlers were fuming.
Politico reports:

Jeb Bush campaign manager Danny Diaz got into a heated confrontation with a CNBC producer outside the debate as it was happening, according to two sources familiar with the incident.
One of the sources said Diaz was complaining about speaking time allotments.
A CNBC spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
“I expressed my displeasure about the way the debate was managed and the amount of time [we got],” said Diaz, who declined to comment further.
Bush had one of the briefest speaking times of the debate – something that aides are expressing frustration about. According to a count compiled by National Public Radio, Bush spoke for less time than any other candidate.

This suggests that unless this pattern is broken, Jeb! will be to the Bush family what Teddy Kennedy was to the Kennedy family: the member of the family who couldn’t quite launch himself on the national scene. It isn’t over till the weight-challenged lady sings, but you get the feeling she’s starting to clear her throat and will start to belt it out soon.
2. The media was a favorite target. I was trying to figure out BEFORE the debate which candidate would pull a Newt and like Newt Gingrich running in 2012 go after the media. This time it was a pile on, started by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who seemed to learn from past debates where he made less of an impression than expected.
3. Marco Rubio had a very good night as Jeb Bush had a not so good night. Prediction: He’ll be rising in the polls and start to get more establishment support as the anti-Trump/anti-Carson.

ABC News offers this medley of the best lines and zingers from the debate. The Washington Post offers this annotated transcript of the debate.

Here’s a roundup of news and reaction to the debate. Note that these are excerpts. Go to the links to read each article or post in full.

The Washington Post:

The third Republican presidential debate on Wednesday evening ended with a handful of winners – Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz – and one clear loser, former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

Bush, who was the well-financed front-runner at the beginning of the year, had one good moment in the beginning of the debate, when he attacked Rubio for his record of absences in the Senate. But that moment quickly became a devastating one for Bush, as Rubio responded with a faux-friendly cutdown: “Someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you,” he told Bush. “It’s not.”

After that, Bush was a minor presence – a night so bad for him that his campaign manager confronted CNBC producers off the stage, angry about Bush’s lack of airtime.

Rubio, by contrast, used the debate to cast himself as someone who understood middle-class concerns about student debt and income. By taking down Bush, he blunted an entire line of questioning about his withdrawal from the daily work of the Senate.

Cruz and Christie also had strong moments while criticizing the moderators: Cruz attacked their questions as too negative, and Christie criticized them for asking about whether government should regulate the lucrative ‘daily fantasy” sports business. Christie mocked the moderators for focusing on “fantasy football” with so many other problems in the country.

It was certainly not a good night for the moderators, who were booed on at least two occasions for questions the audience thought were unfair.

The New York Times:

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida coolly rebuffed attacks from his onetime mentor, Jeb Bush, and Senator Ted Cruz emerged as a champion of social conservatives at Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate, as both men found their voices after months of lower-key performances.

Testiness and sharpened jabs infused the night as struggling candidates like Mr. Bush, the former governor of Florida, and Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio ripped into their less experienced rivals and tried to portray them as unqualified for the White House.

The free-for-all of verbal assaults reflected the new volatility in a race that Donald J. Trump dominated for months. It appears to be shifting in favor of candidates like Mr. Rubio and Ben Carson as the first nominating contests near and voters start paying closer attention to the field.

Mr. Rubio, a first-term senator, had the best night of his campaign, showing the political talent that many insiders had long seen in him. He and Mr. Carson, a retired neurosurgeon now leading in several polls, faced the toughest questions but emerged largely unscathed, with Mr. Rubio in particular winning strong applause from the audience at the University of Colorado Boulder for his confident performance and deft counterpunches.

Mr. Bush, under great pressure to have a strong debate performance that would reassure his supporters and change the trajectory of his struggling campaign, had another lackluster night — raising the possibility that uncommitted donors will write him off and embrace candidates like Mr. Rubio…..

….Mr. Kasich made a strong impression by showing new aggressiveness from the debate’s first moments, taking on Mr. Trump and Mr. Carson in hopes of improving his dismal standing in voter surveys. Mr. Trump, bent on recapturing his lead in the polls from Mr. Carson, was more restrained in his mockery of his rivals than in the previous two debates, and even faded into the background for long stretches.

It was a night that saw a reversal of fortunes: Mr. Trump and Mr. Bush have been in the campaign spotlight for months as they jousted with each other and asserted their financial dominance in the race, but both were overshadowed at the debate by the commanding performances of Mr. Rubio and Mr. Cruz.

The Los Angeles Times:

This was the third GOP debate. And while some candidates did well – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio – and some fared poorly – former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — it’s not likely any of the moments changed the trajectory of the campaign.

Here are a few takeaways:

Blame the media.

Attacking the questioner is a long-standing get-out-of jail device in debates — particularly on the Republican side, where resentment of what voters see as the liberal media is a perennial grievance. But it may have reached a pinnacle Wednesday. Whenever the candidates got a tough question about their records, or even when they didn’t, they attacked the media. The crowd rewarded them with enthusiastic applause.

Nearly every candidate accused the questioners of getting their facts wrong, without answering the questions….

….Where did Bush go?

Bush was once again under pressure to show up big and he didn’t. He failed to speak often or memorably or give worried donors and celebrating rivals any reason to believe he was reclaiming his status as the leading mainstream candidate.

The Republican Party has real differences over entitlements.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor, essentially agreed as Christie said that “the government has lied to you, and they have stolen from you” by spending the surplus in the Social Security trust fund.

But they disagreed sharply on what to do about that. Christie believes the only way to keep Social Security solvent without tax hikes is to means-test benefits.

Think Progress:

Reporters from both conservative and liberal-minded news organizations seem to agree: the CNBC Republican presidential debate was kind of a trainwreck.
That wasn’t really because of the candidates, though — it was because of the moderators. For the first hour, CNBC moderators Becky Quick, John Harwood, and Carl Quintanilla didn’t let candidates interact with each other, resulting in multiple moments of incomprehensible yelling. This may have been because of stricter time limits — this particular 10-candidate debate was only two hours, while the previous Republican debates have spanned three hours.
But constant interruption wasn’t the only problem. Candidates were also highly critical of the CNBC crew, accusing them of being part of the “liberal media.” At one point, Ted Cruz ripped into the moderators for asking what he called unfair and non-substantive questions. And in two instances, audience members actually booed at questions the moderators asked of Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee.

On his popular conservative website Red State, Eric Erickson, in a post telling Jeb to take his campaign out and “shoot it,” pointed to Bush bringing up Rubio’s absenteeism from the Senate and Rubio’s response:

Rubio blew up Jeb Bush and pointed out Bush was willing to back Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in 2008, who missed far more votes than Rubio, without Bush saying a word.

It was a devastating rebuttal and one that could have been handled without telegraphing to Rubio it was coming. Instead of throwing Rubio off his game, Jeb gave Rubio time to bring big guns.

That was campaign amateur hour.

Bush’s heart clearly was not in the attack and he came away bleeding badly. He failed to shine the rest of the debate except in a question about fantasy football, then had Chris Christie denounce the question as unserious — something Bush should have done.

Jeb Bush needs to take his campaign out back and shoot it — then decide if he really has the stomach for this. If so, he needs a new team. McCain was his guy in 2008. If Bush really wants this, he needs to completely shake up his campaign like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)

Tonight was just a sad end to a really good man who will more likely than not be henceforth referred to as a former Presidential candidate.


Donald Trump and Ben Carson may have stood at the center of the stage at Wednesday’s debate, but Marco Rubio stole the show.
It was a sharp contrast from the first two contests, when Trump dominated the discussion. On Wednesday, the braggy billionaire reverted to almost just another candidate on the stage, not even involved in one of the debate’s defining moments.

….“Marco, when you signed up for this, this was a six-year term,” Bush said. “And you should be showing up to work.”
Rubio was ready, dismissing Bush as a political opportunist turning on an old friend. “Someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you,” he said.
It was the end of discussion. The mentor had gone after the protégé but came away bruised.
While that exchange got the audience going, many of the candidates scored ovations by attacking the moderators and, more broadly, the mainstream media.
“This is not a cage match,” said Ted Cruz, blasting the CNBC moderators’ questions for almost every candidate in the field. “How about talking about the substantive issues people care about?”
As the crowd roared in approval, Cruz didn’t let up. “Nobody watching at home believes that any of the moderators have any intention of voting in a Republican primary,” he added.

Crooks and Liars’ Heather:

I’m sure this is one of those moments RNC Chair Reince Priebus was crying about following the CNBC Republican debate. Sen. Ted Cruz decided to use up all of his time whining about the nonexistent, so-called “liberal media’ when asked about his desire to shut down the government rather than compromise on a budget deal by moderator Carl Quintanilla.

After he’d filibustered and used the time to grandstand and call the media and Democrats names, he was upset they didn’t want to give him more time to finally answer their question…

….Mission accomplished. Cruz avoids having to answer a tough question, and now he can scream media bias and has the talking heads over on Faux “news” more than happy to help him along with that meme for the night. Someone forgot to remind Cruz and the lot of them that the hacks over on CNBC are not the “liberal media,” and the question asked by Quintanilla here was a perfectly legitimate question.

Pajamas Media’s Stephen Green aka Vodka Pundit did his legendary “drunk blogging” throughout the debate. GO HERE to read it in full, but here is a chunk of his final analysis:

Fiorina, Rubio, and Cruz got the most airtime of the major candidates, as as I go back through the liveblog, each had a couple moments of real brilliance. Christie did, too, but he just isn’t conservative enough for this GOP electorate. Next year a smart GOP candidate might put Christie in charge of their media relations: Tough, likable, feisty.

…Carson and Trump are the frontrunners in the polls, but scored in the middle of the pack during the debate. Counterintuitively, that might be the best for the both of them, allowing them to coast on their leads without displaying their political weaknesses during a widely watched broadcast.

Then there were the rest of the also-rans, none of whom really need concern anybody but their most diehard devotees — and I’m assuming for the sake of argument that they do indeed have at least a few diehard devotees.

Tonight’s big loser was Jeb Bush.

He was tired, disconnected, and seemingly unconcerned about his inability to connect or energize. I wrote as things wrapped up:

Jeb tried and failed to attack Rubio. Tried and failed to be funny. Tried and failed to inspire. Tried and failed just now to drive the stake into Hillary.

What exactly is he doing on that stage tonight?

Not even Bush seemed to know the answer to that question, and tomorrow morning he should expect his Big Donor Class to be burning up the phone lines trying to get a straight answer to it.

I suspect they’ll try in vain.

Political Wire’s Taegan Goddard:

The third Republican presidential debate was a total, unruly mess. The CNBC moderators were mostly unprepared, asked terrible questions and lost control of the debate from the opening minutes. It was an embarrassment.

That said, dealing with stupid questions is a job requirement of the president.

The winners of the debate were Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Both senators were ready and used the format to their advantage. Rubio had plenty of opportunities to show off his political skills and regularly turned questions to his advantage. Cruz took issue with the bad questions and turned his fire against the media — always an effective strategy in a GOP debate.

The big loser was Jeb Bush. After a failed attack on Rubio’s missed votes in the U.S. Senate, he looked like a defeated man. He’s surely intelligent but he has an amazing ability to choose the wrong words. He needed a better performance to show he was worthy of his donors and didn’t deliver. To paraphrase Pulp Fiction: “Jeb’s dead, baby. Jeb’s dead.”

And Hillary Clinton offered this tweet at the end of the debate:

For more reaction from blogs on the debate GO HERE.


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  • tidbits

    All well reported and honestly believed by the various commenters. But the overnight polls? Trump, Trump, Trump. Three different overnighters, shown on Morning Joe, show Trump winning with more than 40% with whoever came in second (Cruz or Rubio depending on poll) registering in the teens.

    Just one more example of how Republican voters are not responding as the conventional wisdom pundits predict during this primary cycle.

    • ydnas639

      Conventional wisdom?
      It doesn’t seem to me that Republican voters respond to any kind of wisdom. Why else would they have voted for the likes of Michele Bachmann or Gordon Klingenschmitt or Joe Barton or Steve King?

  • DdW

    To me, it was all boulderdash.

    But then, I am biased…

  • dduck12

    Nice roundup, thanks Joe.
    I am not particularly interested in the winner, per se, just the overall effect the Panel had and did it forward the agenda against the Dems. I think it was better than the last two, because Trump was muted, and most gave coherent points when thet were’nt attacking the questioners. Cruz showed that he is a shark that tries to soumd like a reasonable person. Although my choice, Kasich, IMHO is the best qualified experience wise and moderation wise, got in a couple of jabs, overall he didn’t do that well and the tic is getting distracting (sorry). Rubio still seems like a phoney and inexperienced but facile speaker and he plays the poor card very well and Bush shows “that this is not his year” as Krauthammer points out, above. Fiorina still does a good job at appearing competent as a former CEO unfairly kicked off the board, but her Perkins mention was shot down by a moderator.
    And yes, they are not liberals at CNBC, but some of the questions deserved derision. Oh, and Huck still is entertaining.
    Again, too many people on stage.

    • DdW

      Well done, dduck. Fair review by an independent.

      • dduck12

        Thanks, but Republican as far as my registration and voting record.

        • Slamfu

          Well, all independents have to vote for someone 🙂

        • DdW

          Sorry for the misunderstanding, dduck. I thought you had previously indicated your independent “streak.”

          • dduck12

            No need for sorry, I just wanted to be candid.

    • Sal Monela

      Agree with DdW with one small caveat: Fiorina demonstrated a complete lack of connection with the middle class in her response to the question on 401Ks. In her mind, making these essential retirement savings devices more available isn’t her problem and shouldn’t be a concern of government. That’s wrong because the government created 401Ks and only the government can set the rules.

      • DdW

        Agree with your caveat, Sal. Had forgotten about that.

  • Slamfu

    Lol, the “winners” were Cruz and Rubio, neither of which said much of anything about actual policy. They “won” because they did best in putting down the other guys while repeating talking points without touching on substance. They pretty much all failed to answer the questions that were asked and instead answered other questions that weren’t asked that allowed them to go into their talking points. Carson was asked:

    “You have a flat tax plan of 10 percent flat taxes,” said moderator
    Becky Quick. “This is something that is very appealing to a lot of
    voters, but I’ve had a really tough time trying to make the math work on
    this. If you were to take a 10 percent tax, with the numbers right now
    in total personal income, you’re gonna bring in $1.5 trillion. That is
    less than half of what we bring in right now. And by the way, it’s gonna
    leave us in a $2 trillion hole. So what analysis got you to the point
    where you think this will work?”

    That is a real question. The problem is that the policies these guys are offering are so bad that it’s impossible to seriously question them without it coming off like your making fun of them or attacking them. Then they get defensive, and all of a sudden THAT is what becomes the answer and what it’s about. I’m not saying the moderators couldn’t have done better, but it wasn’t all their fault, and they sure do make a convenient tool for distracting the public from the hollowness of the GOP platform.

    • The_Ohioan

      Exactly. Substantive questions by people who know economics that the candidates can’t answer because their policies are so barmy.

    • Sal Monela

      There is a funny thing about that appealing 10% flat tax. It also comes with a version of a value added tax. According to the Tax Foundation
      “Enacts a broad-based, 16 percent “Business Transfer Tax” or value-added tax. This tax is levied on all business profits, less capital
      investment. This would include the payroll of business, government, and
      non-profit institutions, as well as net imports. The tax would exempt
      from taxation the purchase of health insurance. A business transfer tax
      is also often known as a subtraction-method value-added tax. While its
      base is identical in economic terms to that of the credit-invoice VAT
      seen in many OECD countries, it is calculated from corporate accounts,
      not on individual transactions.” The moderators missed this and so do most of the articles about the Cruz Tax Plan. See

      • Slamfu

        I can’t blame them for missing that. You just explained it and I still don’t get it.

        • Sal Monela

          The VAT is a consumption tax that taxes the value of a product that is added at each stage of production. The classic example is the wheat farmer. He sells a unit of grain for $50. If the seeds, fertilizer etc. needed to produce the grain costs $10, and the tax is 10%, our farmer has added $40 of value so he pays $4 in taxes. At the next stage, the wheat is milled and sold for $70. The miller has added $20 of value and pays a $2 VAT. The process continues until the loaves of bread are sold to the end consumer for $100. Over the various stages of production a total of $90 of value is added and $9 of tax is paid. Cruz’s plan has a few technical differences from my example, but the end result is about the same. Also, under the Cruz plan, the corporate income tax is abolished.
          The obvious question is what will this do to the price of goods? The Cruz Tax is 16% and as a cost of doing business it will be passed on to consumers. However the elimination of the corporate income tax will benefit many businesses so how will that work into the final price calculation? Some businesses pay less then 16% Federal Income Tax on their profits so they will be forced to raise prices. Also some of that income tax is paid by the stockholders in the form of reduced dividends and reduced after tax earnings. I am betting that there will be an overall increase in the price of goods. That appears to be the case in Europe where the VAT is widely used and almost everything costs more than it does in the US.

  • tidbits

    This recently came up on Political Wire,

    A new Gravis Marketing survey found that 27% of voters think Donald Trump won last night’s GOP presidential debate, followed by Marco Rubio at 21%, Ted Cruz at 17% and Ben Carson at 13%.

    On the other side, 26% thought Jeb Bush lost the debate, followed by Rand Paul at 24% and John Kasich at 15%.

    The Hill reports that several unscientific online surveys also found Trump as the winner.

    Those of us who appreciate debate performance, fact checking accuracy and conventional measures of win/lose may think that Rubio and Cruz were joint winners. But, it really doesn’t work that way with this year’s Republican voters. The one thing we need to know about this year’s Republican race is this: normal doesn’t apply.

    • Slamfu

      Kasich really shot himself in the foot by being the sanest guy in the room. After the primary him and Jon Huntsman should hang out and have a beer.

      • Amen. Two “upvotes” on Huntsman/Kasich retiring the “sane guy” trophy. Kasich is being treated just like Huntsman was–ignored until he drops out.

  • Rcoutme

    I was busy watching a much more cerebral and thought-provoking program on TCM, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”. It had a host of characters including Buddy Hacket, Spencer Tracy, Ethel Merman, Phil Silvers, and many, many others.

  • One of these people will have to debate Hillary or Bernie, who are both very smart.

    These guys think they got tough questions from biased interrogators? Like to see The Donald, Fiorina or Dr. Carson take eleven hours of grilling and insults from the opposing party the way Hillary did, and be able to laugh at the questioners at the end of all that.

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