Features and Web Editor
On Oct. 28 the third Republican primary debate was held at the University of Colorado Boulder in Boulder, Colorado. Just like any other debate, there were winners, and there were losers. The unique reasons why some candidates shined was what made this debate unlike many others.
Ten candidates, three moderators, and millions of people were watching. Participating in the debate were front-runners business mogul Donald Trump and former pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, fellow outsider Carly Fiorina, establishment politicians Gov. Chris Christie (NJ), former Gov. Jeb Bush (FL), and Sen. Ted Cruz (TX), Gov. John Kasich (OH), as well as freshman Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), long-time conservative Gov. Mike Huckabee (AR), and former libertarian Sen. Rand Paul (KY). When it comes to moderators John Harwood, Becky Quick, and Carl Quintanilla, The New York Post may have said it best with an article titled, “There’s no debate: The CNBC Moderators were unfair.”
According to the polls following the debate, those who usually shine during debates did not perform. Trump talked much less than in past debates, and Bush, who generally performs very well in debates, was lacking. Fiorina owned the floor, amassing the longest talking time. When it finally came down to it, Sen. Rubio was the clear winner, with Sen. Cruz following closely behind. Their success can be largely attributed to them addressing and criticizing the obvious liberal bias of the moderators on stage.
The targeted questions that were asked included personal insults and totally irrelevant questions. The moderators were also arguing with the candidates, interrupting their answers, even when the candidate still had time remaining to speak. One of the obviously flawed questions was posed to former Gov. Bush, which asked if fantasy sports should be regulated by the federal government because it could be considered gambling. Gov. Christie could not help interjecting, dropping a truth bomb saying, “Are we really talking about getting government involved in fantasy football? We have $19 trillion in debt. We have people out of work. We have ISIS and al-Qaeda attacking us. And we're talking about fantasy football? Can we stop?”
As the debate went on, the bias became more and more clear. Sen. Rubio sparked the flame early as Senator Ted Cruz summed it up best. Using his time to answer a question, he paraphrased some that had already been asked saying, “This is not a cage match. 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 people care about?” From there the candidates were no longer debating each other but moderators Harwood, Quick, and Quintanilla.
The unorganized debate was painful to watch. It is important to note that the purpose of primary debates is to educate those of whom will be voting in the Republican primary about the candidates. Sen. Cruz also pointed out during the debate, that nobody at home watching believed any of the moderators would even consider voting in a Republican primary. Sen. Rubio addressed the liberal media bias saying, “The Democrats have the ultimate super PAC [political action committee], it's called the mainstream media,” said Sen. Rubio. Many people, including Dr. Carson called on the Republican National Committee (RNC) to stop holding debates with very liberal, biased moderators to avoid similar situations. RNC chairman Reince Priebus released a statement which read, "While I was proud of our candidates and the way they handled tonight’s debate, the performance by the CNBC moderators ... did a disservice to their network, our candidates, and voters." He continued saying, "our diverse field of talented and exceptionally qualified candidates did their best to share ideas for how to reinvigorate the economy and put Americans back to work despite deeply unfortunate questioning from CNBC." The RNC has since suspended its partnership with NBC, leaving the schedule Feb. 26 debate hanging in the balance.
The next primetime Republican debate is to be held on tonight(Nov. 10) and will be broadcasted on Fox News at 9 p.m. The earlier debate starts at 7 p.m., surprisingly Gov. Christie has been demoted to the lower level debate, despite shining in the CNBC debate, as well as Gov. Mike Huckabee.