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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Yeah, right, CNBC is part of Duh Librul Media. That's where Rick Santelli ranted in '09 and gave birth to the tea party. #GOPdebate
— Dick Polman (@DickPolman1) October 29, 2015
Lindsay Graham has won the undercard with humor. He won't be president but is funny enough for late night TV.
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) October 28, 2015
Soon I will post here a short proposal to STOP the debate madness and immediately adopt a better format. If you agree with me, please RT it.
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) October 29, 2015
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) October 29, 2015
— Fox News (@FoxNews) October 29, 2015
Looking back, this is the moment that’s going to make Jeb wish he’d dropped out two weeks ago. https://t.co/Tfx21cF6Ml
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) October 29, 2015
— Fox News (@FoxNews) October 29, 2015
Jeb Bush Continues “Death Spiral” At GOP Debate. My story: https://t.co/5gqGciWsPT
— McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins) October 29, 2015
— WIRED (@WIRED) October 29, 2015
— The Weekly Standard (@weeklystandard) October 29, 2015
And Hillary Clinton offered this tweet at the end of the debate:
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 29, 2015
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.