New Cruz Ad: When Liberal Media Attacks, Who Can You Trust to Fight Back?

Ted Cruz is following up his impressive debate performance with a new ad highlighting his applause-winning takedown of the CNBC moderators.  The ad, appropriately titled “When the Media Attacks, Ted Fights Back!”, reprises Cruz’s counterattack and the biased media questioning that led to it.  It also covers the overwhelming reaction to the moment from a focus group led by pollster Frank Luntz, who said the comment had the best reaction of any he’d seen since 1996.

You can watch the full ad below:

Nick Arnold is a researcher for the American Principles Project. Continue Reading

Reince Preibus to NBC: No More Debates For You!

Photo credit: Geoffrey Fairchild via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

In a letter to NBC News today, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus announced that the Republican Party was suspending its planned February debate on the network. Priebus made no secret why he’s pulling out, placing the blame squarely on CNBC’s disastrous moderating job this Wednesday: “The CNBC network is one of your media properties, and its handling of the debate was conducted in bad faith.”

You can read Priebus’ letter below:

Mr. Andrew Lack Chairman, NBC News 30 Rockefeller Plaza New York, New York 10112

Dear Mr. Lack,

I write to inform you that pending further discussion between the Republican National Committee (RNC) and our presidential campaigns, we are suspending the partnership with NBC News for the Republican primary debate at the University of Houston on February 26, 2016. The RNC’s sole role in the primary debate process is to ensure that our candidates are given a full and fair opportunity to lay out their vision for America’s future. We simply cannot continue with NBC without full consultation with our campaigns.

The CNBC network is one of your media properties, and its handling of the debate was conducted in bad faith. We understand that NBC does not exercise full editorial control over CNBC’s journalistic approach. However, the network is an arm of your organization, and we need to ensure there is not a repeat performance.

CNBC billed the debate as one that would focus on “the key issues that matter to all voters—job growth, taxes, technology, retirement and the health of our national economy.”  That was not the case.

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Three Times Chris Christie Demolished the Competition at the CNBC Debate

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Chris Christie’s New Jersey sass and no-nonsense attitude took center stage at Wednesday night’s GOP Debate. Here were his three best moments:

1.) When he focused on the real competition.

The first question of the night was, “What is your biggest weakness and what are you doing to address it?” Christie deflected his answer away from his own weaknesses, just as everyone else did, and talked about what he believes is the greatest weakness of the election: the Democratic candidates. He rallied for the Republicans as a team and emphasized who the real rivals are:

I don’t see a lot of weakness on this stage, quite frankly. Where I see the weakness is in those three people that are left on the Democratic stage. You know, I see a socialist, an isolationist and a pessimist. And for the sake of me, I can’t figure out which one is which.

2. When he took a good look.

Governor Christie made a huge impact to those watching him fight for the top spot. He spoke directly into the camera, capturing the attention of those who will be voting for him, instead of using his eye contact to intimidate everyone else in the room. It was effective and unique, making Christie a standout amongst the rest.

I want to talk to the folks at home. I want to ask you: Are you fed up with how Washington taxes you? Are you fed up with how Washington wastes your money?

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Top Four Reasons Even the Liberal Media Hated the CNBC Moderators

If you watched the GOP debate last night, you probably cringed at the blatant partisanship on display from the moderators.  It wasn’t just you; the rest of the media was disgusted with how CNBC handled the debate.  Skeptical?  Here were four reasons even liberal news outlets couldn’t hide their disgust:

1.) The moderator’s questions were “awkward and fumbling.”

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

…From Twitter snark to the spin room, CNBC took a beating for questioning that was awkward and fumbling at times, and at others seemed derived from an opposition research book.

2.) They tried to create stupid controversies.

From Rasmussen:

 Seventy-five percent (75%) of Likely U.S. Voters believe that when it comes to covering prospective presidential candidates, the media is more interested in creating controversies about them than it is in reporting where they stand on the issues.

The questions asked by the CNBC reporter-moderators in the early going last night showed exactly why voters feel this way, and Senator Ted Cruz called them on it.

3.) Rick Santelli and Jim Cramer competed for the James T. Kirk Overacting Ham of the Year Award.

From Slate:

…But mostly CNBC’s debate was mess—and to regular CNBC viewers, a familiar one. How bad was it? Straight-ahead moderators John Harwood and Becky Quick seemed to be broadcasting from Planet Face the Nation, lobbing serious policy questions. Meanwhile, the more flamboyant Cramer and Santelli practically competed for overacting honors.

4.) CNBC’s “smarmy moderators had it coming.”

From The Boston Globe:

…It was brutal takedown, and CNBC’s smarmy moderators had it coming.

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Top 3 Marco Rubio Moments From Last Night’s CNBC Debate (VIDEO)

Senator Ted Cruz may have dropped the best opening line in calling out the moderators last night, but Senator Marco Rubio arguably gave the most solid performance.  Rubio had a lot of good applause lines last night, but here are three of the best:

3). On Medicare: “I’m against anything that’s bad for my mother.”

The moderators at CNBC wasted no time trying to paint the Republican candidates as unreliable champions of social security, spending a good portion of the debate highlighting the cuts that would have to be made to reform the program and asking repeatedly whether it was moral to break a social compact.  Rubio stopped those arguments cold by pointing out that the GOP wasn’t talking about cuts for current beneficiaries, but rather were referring to people like Rubio and Cruz who would have more time to adjust to the changes.  To underscore how serious he was about this, Rubio invoked his mother as the ultimate assurance that current benefits wouldn’t be touched:

2.) Crushes Jeb Bush’s fake concern about his absences

This will likely be remembered as the moment when Marco Rubio officially stepped out of Jeb Bush’s shadow.  Bush went for what seemed like an easy target by pointing out that Rubio has missed more votes since he started running for president, but Rubio was ready with a comeback of his own.  I especially liked his closer, where he accused Bush of bringing it up “because we’re running for the same position, and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you”:

1.) The Democrats have the ultimate Super PAC, and it’s called the Mainstream Media

This was Rubio’s best response of the night, without a doubt.  Continue Reading

Two Winners, One Big Loser from the CNBC GOP Debate

The CNBC GOP Debate was filled with big moments and memorable quotes. Here are two big winners and one big loser.

WINNER: Marco Rubio

Rubio had two big moments. First, there was this smackdown of Jeb Bush:

Then, in response to a ridiculous question vaguely referencing Super PACs targeted at Donald Trump, Rubio chimed in:

The Democrats have the ultimate Super PAC. It’s called the mainstream media.

Rubio won the debate. And he’s likely to see a big jump after this debate.

WINNER: Ted Cruz

But let’s not forget Ted Cruz. This was the single best moment in the debate.

That smackdown was incredible. Just incredible. Ted Cruz deserves a lot of credit for taking on the CNBC moderators… and he got the ball rolling for the rest of the candidates, who then proceeded to do the same thing over the course of the rest of the debate.

THE BIG LOSER: CNBC

This may have been the most ridiculously biased, poorly moderated debate of all time. The questions were ridiculous. The moderators seemingly spent more time talking than the candidates. The bias in the questions was approaching absurd levels. And the moderators repeatedly lost control of the debate.

It was a joke, pure and simple. The candidates rose above it. But this should not be forgotten for future GOP debates. Why are we handing control over OUR debates to the liberal mainstream media? It makes no sense. It’s a mistake that the RNC has repeatedly made for years, and it was once again on display on Wednesday night.

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“It’s The Economy, Stupid!” Time For CNBC To Grill Candidates On Monetary, Tax, Trade Policy

Photo credit: Teresa via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

At last, we mere voters might get to watch a debate that will focus on the two top issues that virtually every poll places at the top of our concerns: jobs and the economy.  Earlier debates have only lightly brushed on these matters. This is a great pity. Time for CNBC to give us a gold standard presidential debate with questions that matter.

As I wrote in my Forbes.com column “Here’s What’s Likely To Hurt the Republicans in 2016” last April:

“It’s the economy, stupid!”  The weirdest thing about the onrushing 2016 presidential cycle is the scarcity of a GOP economic growth theme. Missing, too, is a serious growth agenda. That gap — not demographics, nor electoral college math — is the GOP’s most serious deficiency in its quest to regain the White House.

Democratic campaign consultant Bob Shrum wrote in his compelling political memoir No Excuses:

“Carville was obsessed with keeping the Clinton Campaign on message. That was easier with the ads than the candidate. A pledge to “end welfare as we know it” reassured voters in the middle. The point of the lance was economic: Clinton had an economic plan, a health care plan; Bush didn’t and you couldn’t trust what he said anyway. But it was hard to channel a candidate who was a policy prodigy. Clinton’s broad reading and interests sometimes led him to break out of the message box of his own campaign. I was on the phone with Carville one day when he said he had to hang up; the road was calling in.

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Trump, Carson Force CNBC to Submit on Debate Rules

CNBC is set to host the next GOP debate on Oct. 28th in Boulder, Colorado. The network planned to have the debate run 120 minutes long plus four commercials and would exclude the opening and closing statements.

When the campaigns were notified of the debate limits, there was some immediate and forceful backlash. Trump tweeted that CNBC was “pushing the [GOP] around by asking for extra time” and that they should only agree to it if it benefited the party. Both the Carson and Trump campaigns came together in a letter to protest the limitations.

They replied by saying that they would boycott the CNBC debate unless there was an opening and closing statement and the debate ran 120 minutes with the four commercials. This would leave each candidate with less than ten minutes of screen time if distributed equally. Looks like these candidates are getting a little tired, and they’re looking for time to propagate their platforms with fewer interruptions and more applause lines.

CNBC spokesman Brian Steel responded to the GOP candidates: “Our goal is to host the most substantive debate possible. Our practice in the past has been to forego opening statements to allow more time to address the critical issues that matter most to the American people. We started a dialogue yesterday with all of the campaigns involved and we will certainly take the candidates’ views on the format into consideration as we finalize the debate structure.”

Another candidate who would be participating in the CNBC debate, Carly Fiorina, seemed unfazed by debate plan saying, “You know, prepared statements are what politicians do. Continue Reading