GOP Candidates Unhappy With CNBC Debate

The Republican presidential candidates repeatedly expressed frustration over the mainstream media in general and the CNBC moderators asking the questions during the third GOP debate Wednesday evening. "The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don't trust the media," Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said early on.

BOULDER, Colorado (AP) — They railed against Democrats. They attacked each other. But the Republican presidential contenders seemed even angrier at the media Wednesday night.

The candidates repeatedly expressed frustration the mainstream media in general and the CNBC moderators asking the questions during the third GOP debate.

“The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said early on.

“This is not a cage match,” he added. “How about talking about the substantive issues the people care about?”

Others complained the moderators’ questions were hostile and based on inaccurate premises.


“That’s not true,” retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson objected to one moderator’s depiction of his tax plans. “When we put all the facts down, you’ll be able to see that it’s not true, it works out very well.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took issue with one moderator’s interruption. “Do you want me to answer or do you want to answer?” he said. “Because, I’ve got to tell you the truth, even in New Jersey what you’re doing is called rude.”

In his closing statement Donald Trump chastised the network for trying to extend the debate past the two-hour mark, which he and Carson had teamed up to stop.

“In about two minutes I renegotiated it down to two hours so we could get the hell out of here,” he bragged.

The candidates were joined afterward by Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, who told reporters he felt the debate had included too many “gotcha” questions.

“I’m disappointed at the moderators and I’m pretty disappointed at CNBC,” he said.

Priebus added that he felt the moderators had done “a disservice to their network, our candidates, and voters.”

“One of the great things about our party is that we are able to have a dynamic exchange about which solutions will secure a prosperous future, and I will fight to ensure future debates allow for a more robust exchange,” he added. “CNBC should be ashamed of how this debate was handled.”

Trump, who had predicted the debate would be “unfair” hours before it started, told CNBC after he walked offstage that he felt the Republicans had been treated far differently than the Democrats during their first faceoff earlier this month.

“If you looked at Hillary’s deal a couple of weeks ago, the questions were much softer, much easier, much nicer. It was like a giant lovefest,” he said. “That did not take place over here. This was pretty tough.”

Bush campaign manager Danny Diaz confirmed that he had expressed displeasure to a CNBC producer about the debate.

NBC spokesman Brian Steel responded with a one-sentence statement: “People who want to be president of the United States should be able to answer tough questions.” CNBC is part of the NBCUniversal group.

Colvin reported from Washington.

Comments (9)

Leave a Reply

Julien Devereux says:

October 29, 2015 at 9:44 am

If they can’t handle tough questions, they haven’t got the ability to be President. A President’s job if full of tough questions, and tougher decisions.

kendra campbell says:

October 29, 2015 at 10:10 am

Crocodile tears. So sorry there were pointed, legitimate questions.

    Wagner Pereira says:

    October 30, 2015 at 5:43 am

    clearly you failed to watch before commenting.

John McElfresh says:

October 29, 2015 at 12:01 pm

Are the above two really serious? Those moderators didn’t ask tough questions, the were stupid look at me I’m tough and will probably win an Emmy for this performance. But judging from the audience reaction, they came off as boobs!

Scott Cote says:

October 29, 2015 at 2:00 pm

As long as the Media moguls are allowed to bring their politics to their viewing public, this will continue to happen. NBC/Uni let Hillary walk thru the park, and beat the crap out of the Republicans. Those who really watched, REALLY WATCHED, can’t disagree with this.

Shenee Howard says:

October 29, 2015 at 6:16 pm

Not every debate will be asked by their fiiendly PR firm, Faux News Network. There are also reports that they agreed ahead of time to gang up on the moderators – which if true is not very Presidential. If elected, they will get questions from all sorts, and the Press, no matter the stripes, will hold them accountable. Most of these candidates tried to avoid questions on the economy – something that should be at the top of their list. I’m still waiting for specifics. Carson basically delaying because we will launch our details soon was total BS. We are not that stupid. You had the stage and audience and squandered it.

    Wagner Pereira says:

    October 30, 2015 at 5:46 am

    The problem was the moderators ask “gotcha” questions looking to establish them instead of the getting answers from the Candidates. Even worse, the moderators did not know the background of the questions they asked so when people like Donald Trump lied flat out on the answer, they actually apologized to him instead of defending their question. Finally, this was on CNBC because it was supposed to be about Financial Issues, which were 95% ignored (and that’s unfortunately asking about betting on Fantasy Football etc).

    John McElfresh says:

    October 30, 2015 at 8:00 am

    You can take the Obama sticker off yourcar now and replace it with Hillary’s.

Gregg Palermo says:

October 29, 2015 at 10:09 pm

A story about alleged rudeness is filled with rude comments. Classic.

More News