5 Reasons To Be Glad That You Didn’t Watch The CNBC Republican Presidential Debate

cnbc republican debate
CNBC Screenshot


Republicans were asked hard questions and they whined about media bias, plus five reasons to be glad that you didn’t watch the CNBC Republican Debate.

1). Republicans Suck At Math – The moderators for the CNBC debate asked Trump and Carson about why the math on their tax plans doesn’t add up. Carson said that the numbers weren’t true that his tax plan creates a $1.1 trillion hole, and the CNBC panelist said it is true. I ran the numbers.

Gov. John Kasich went off on Trump and Carson for coming up with fantasy tax schemes and claiming that they’ll just clean it up. Kasich said, “This stuff is fantasy.” He specifically called out Carson and Trump and told voters to wake up because they can’t elect somebody who doesn’t know how to do the job. Trump played dirty and said that Kasich was a managing general partner at Lehman Brothers went it went down.

2). Marco Rubio Spins Himself in Circles Trying To Defend His Ripping Off Of Taxpayers – Sen. Marco Rubio’s new defense for ripping off the taxpayers by not showing up for work in the Senate, but still getting paid. The only thing that Rubio could say about the Sun Sentinel editorial that called for him to resign was that the newspaper is biased against conservatives. Jeb Bush pounced on Rubio and said, “But Marco when you signed up for this, you know that this is a six-year term. You should be showing up for work.” Rubio said that John McCain missed a lot of votes when he ran. The Republican crowd applauded Rubio’s answer because getting paid and not showing up for work is apparently a Republican value.

3). Ted Cruz Avoids A Question About The Budget Deal By Attacking The Media – Ted Cruz was asked about the budget deal and how it reflects on his negative leadership style and instead Cruz went on a rant about how all of the questions in this debate were anti-Republican and reflected media bias. Cruz is the second candidate to whine about questions that are focused on the issues and claim that discussing facts is media bias.

4).Instead Of Rising Up, Jeb Bush Falls Flat – The debate was considered a must win for Bush. It was thought that Bush must show up and behave like a man who could be president. Instead, Jeb seemed lost in a sea of crazy. The people around him called themselves Republicans, but they acted nothing like the Republican Party that his father and brother led.

5).Trump Gets Caught In a Lie By Being Fact Checked By His Own Website – Reality had no place at the Republican debate. Trump claimed that he never said that Marco Rubio was Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator, but the CNBC moderators fact checked Trump and found the statement on his own website. Facts took a beating at the CNBC debate. Trump was humiliated by his own website, but that was par for the course for this Republican debate.

Winners and Losers:


1). Marco Rubio – Jeb Bush tried to attack Rubio on his missed votes, and Rubio turned it into a dog whistle on media bias. Otherwise, Rubio was his same weak self, but if he keeps playing the Newt Gingrich blame the media card, he may get a bump in the polls.

2). John Kasich – Kasich sounded like the sane moderate Republican, which means that he had no chance in this debate. Calling Trump and Carson fantasy candidates probably won him the undying love of the Republican establishment, but he probably sealed his fate with voters by speaking out against the fantasy plans that Republican voters love.

3). Ben Carson – Do you remember anything that Ben Carson said during the debate? If not, it’s a win for Carson. The soft-spoken Republican continues to fly under the radar and build support by not attacking anyone, not saying anything, and remaining the anti-Trump.

4). Donald Trump – Trump wasn’t the center of attention in this debate. He also wasn’t the focus of any attacks. Trump didn’t do anything to hurt himself, and he was able to go toe to toe with establishment Republicans like Bush and Rubio. Trump looked more like a legitimate candidate, which is a big win for Trump.


1). Jeb Bush – Bush tried to attack Rubio for ripping off the taxpayers and not showing up for work, but Rubio reversed it on him and attacked Bush while promising not to attack him. Bush needed a big debate, and he resorted mostly to his usual blaming of Obama and being invisible.

2). Rand Paul – Another Republican, who needed a good debate, was Rand Paul. Sen. Paul’s big moment was to announce that he is going to use the Senate floor as his personal infomercial with another fake filibuster beginning tomorrow.

3). Ted Cruz – Cruz’s rant against the media will get a lot of airplay, but he was piggybacking off of Rubio, and he wasn’t able to answer the question about his opposition to the bipartisan budget deal reflects on his lack of leadership.

4). Carly Fiorina – The Carly bump is a thing of the past. It turns out that without Planned Parenthood to lie about, Carly had nothing much to say.

5). Chris Christie – Chris Christie needs to go back to New Jersey. His campaign is going nowhere, and he needs to shut it down.

6). Mike Huckabee – Another end of the stage Republican, who really served no purpose, and had nothing to say. It isn’t 2008 anymore, and Huckabee is sucking up space on a debate stage where he doesn’t belong.

The Drama Behind The Next Republican Debate



There seems to be just a little less excitement than usual surrounding Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate. It is, after all, the third of twelve debates scheduled this season, and the candidates are the same as last time, minus Scott Walker. The New York Times even hinted at the routineness of it all, its most recent debate-related headline focusing on the “familiar risks” the candidates face.

But there is some drama surrounding this upcoming event. And it has to do with the debate’s location — the University of Colorado Boulder, or CU-Boulder.

Since September, there’s been an twinge of animosity among some students who claim they were misled about what housing a presidential debate on campus would be like. They thought they would be getting an unique education in American politics, but instead, some say they’re only getting a lesson in marketing.

“The college framed [this debate] as a real chance for the students to have this meaningful political experience,” said CU-Boulder student Aaron Estevez-Miller, 21, in an interview with ThinkProgress. “In the months since then, the university and chancellor have really failed to deliver on this promise.”

The controversy goes like this: Wednesday’s debate is to be held in CU-Boulder’s 11,000-seat Coors Event Center, and students expected some seats would be open to some of the 30,000 university students. Instead, the Republican National Committee and CNBC originally made only 50 tickets available to the community — that’s including faculty, university board members, and a select few number of students. (On Monday, under pressure, the RNC increased that number to 150.) And the majority of those select few student are from majors like political science and economics, Estevez-Miller said.

The University and the RNC had justified this by noting that most of the space in the arena will be taken up by cameras and the CNBC broadcast team. This is commonplace — At the first Republican debate in Cleveland, only 4,500 attended, though the Quicken Loans Arena seats more than 20,500. But to Estevez-Miller and his group, Student Voices Count, school officials are using the debate as a marketing opportunity.

“They’re sacrificing young people’s political experiences to the arbitrarily defined benefit of media value and exposure,” he said. “People here are voting in their first presidential election — it’s important that they have a meaningful experience with American democracy, and [the college] is not leaving that impression on young people.”

Estevez-Miller does not go as far to suggest that the school or CNBC or the Republican National Committee are trying to keep students out for political reasons (he emphasizes the Student Voices Count is non-partisan). But it has been suggested by the fact that progressive politicians andgroups have joined the call for more student participation. ProgressNow Colorado is calling for at least half of the seats to be made available for students, and while it doesn’t say it outright, its recent press release seems to accuse the Republican candidates of being scared of the progressive student body.

“If the GOP refuses to allow students to even attend a presidential debate on their own campus, what does that say about the candidates?” Amy Runyon-Harms of ProgressNow Colorado said inthe statement.

It seems like a long shot that more seats will be made available to students before Wednesday’s event. In a Monday release, CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefeno said the campus would have “many related opportunities for our students, whether that’s attending a watch party, participating in a faculty-led discussion of the issues, volunteering with CNBC’s production or attending classroom presentations led by prominent journalists.”

For what it’s worth, Estevez-Miller and Student Voices Count is having its own related event on Wednesday — a livestreamed discussion and Q&A session on politics with moderators from both progressive and conservative viewpoints. Local politicians from both sides of the aisle are scheduled to attend and be questioned. Even Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley reached out to the Student Voices Count event, Estevez-Miller said. (O’Malley’s campaign would not, however, confirm to ThinkProgress that he would be there.) Estevez-Miller said the group would love to see Republican candidates attend his discussion as well.

“It’s very easy for people across the country to assume that a liberal community like Boulder has no business receiving some of the country’s most conservative candidates,” he said. “I would simply ask those skeptics that we take the opportunity to prove them wrong. If a couple student volunteers can pull of a national movement like Student Voices Count in a couple months in a way that’s non-partisan and positive, it just goes to show that we should be expecting this from our national legislatures.”


Donald Trump’s Sexist Attack on Megyn Kelly Just Backfired in a Serious Way

Image Credit: AP


The backlash from this week’s Republican presidential primary debates is catching up to Donald Trump.

On Friday night, Trump told CNN’s Don Lemon that he was unfairly grilled by Fox News’ Megyn Kelly during the debate about a series of unflattering, sexist comments he has made about women over the years — and somehow managed to only dig the hole deeper, implying that Kelly had simply been mad because she was on her period.

The damage was done, however. Erick Erickson, founder of popular right-wing blog RedState, announced in a post to the site that “I have tried to give a great deal of latitude to Donald Trump in his run for the Presidency” but that “decency is one of those lines” that all candidates must refrain from crossing. Erickson uninvited Trump from the upcoming RedState Gathering, instead inviting Kelly to appear in his place.

Trump, in turn, responded with a statement calling Erickson a “total loser” and insisting that “only a deviant” would interpret his comments as referring to period blood. The statement also added “it is an honor to be uninvited from his event.”

As Crooks and Liars points out, however, Erickson’s long track record of similarly sexist comments (including calling former Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis an “abortion Barbie“) calls into question whether Erickson really found the comments offensive or was looking for an excuse to turn against the increasingly toxic Trump brand. After all, Erickson didn’t seem to care when Trump called other women “fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.”

Conservatives looking to jump the Trump ship, however, find themselves in an awkward position. Since a sizable portion of Republicans still seem to be on Trump’s side, how damaging the remarks will be to Trump’s poll numbers in the long run remains to be seen.

Tom McKay

Veteran Campaign Reporters Criticize Fox News’ Control Over Republican Debate: “This Whole Thing Is A Sham”

Fox News’ Roger Ailes also GOP Presidential Candidates for 2016


Veteran presidential campaign correspondents and media experts are criticizing Fox News’ unprecedented role as a gatekeeper in the Republican primary.

This week, Fox News will host the first primary debate of the cycle. The event is something of a coup for the network, which has been exerting increasing control over the Republican electoral process over the past decade. The debate will be limited to 10 candidates, based on their standing in a series of national polls that Fox itself is selecting. Fox News’ debate rules have been criticized by several candidates and Republican activists for a variety of reasons, including that the network is overriding the importance of early voting primary states by essentially narrowing the field several months early.

People inside the network have also expressed frustration with the debate process with an anonymous Fox personality reportedly telling New York magazine that it’s “crazy stuff” to have Fox News head Roger Ailes essentially “deciding who is in – and out – of a debate.”

In comments to Media Matters, veteran campaign reporters, media reporters, and ethicists criticized Fox’s influence.

“Should Fox be playing this role?” asked Eric Engberg, a former CBS News correspondent who covered presidential campaigns from 1976 to 2000. “I think given Fox’s ideological bent and that Roger Ailes has spent most of his career working on political campaigns, this whole thing is a sham.”

As Media Matters has documented, candidates have been flocking to the network to get face time with its influential hosts and reach its conservative audience, which in turn boosts interest in Fox. In some cases, candidates and groups supporting them have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Fox ads to help bolster their image and hopefully increase their national polling ahead of the debate.

In a segment laying out how super PACs supporting former Texas Gov. Rick Perry had made a large ad buy on Fox News and other cable networks ahead of the debate, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow explained, “So, Fox News set that rule for the Republican Party, and now, Fox News gets to cash in on that rule by getting all of the Rick Perry super PAC money in the form of his national ads. It’s a nice racket, right?

“That sounds to me like either extortion or bribery, I don’t know which,” Engberg said. “You don’t know whether Fox has indicated to these people that they would be wise to buy more advertising. It has a smell of corruption about it because it mixes money with open political campaigning.”

The New York Times reported on June 4 that Republicans in Iowa and New Hampshire “fear candidates are too focused on getting on television to enhance their poll standing, when they should be out meeting voters in town halls and greasy spoons.” Former chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa Matt Strawn lamented that “now we have put network executives, quite frankly, in charge of winnowing the field instead of actual voters.” Newspapers in early primary states have also “mounted an insurrection against Fox News” by co-sponsoring a candidate forum before the Fox debate.

“It’s obvious that the early primary states and the Iowa caucuses have suffered a blow from the way Fox is managing things,” Engberg added. “There is less focus on Iowa and New Hampshire because all of the candidates’ staffs felt the most important thing is going to be this televised debate on Fox, especially if it is going to be the first … We can call it the Roger Ailes primary. One television executive has taken control of the process of deciding. It has a smell of one-man rule about it.”

David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun TV critic, called the Fox control of the debate “a game changer.”

“Instead of going to the states where the primaries and caucuses are held, they are spending money on TV to reach a mass audience,” he said. “Worse, and this is the part that’s really kind of mind-boggling, is that Fox is going to pick the 10 people based on the polls and there’s a line in there that says they judge the polls and they’re picking them. And now you have people like Rick Perry and [Marco] Rubio saying that the way to reach the line it takes to be picked by Fox is spend millions of dollars to advertise on Fox … This is not an appearance of conflict it is a straight conflict.”

Adam Clymer, a former New York Times political correspondent between 1972 and 2000, called the approach “inevitably messy,” later stating, “Fox is both an advertising and news media for them, with the fact that some of them have been paid commentators before. In theory you would like to have somebody making the decision about who participates who is not involved in covering the news.”

Walter Mears, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former Associated Press campaign reporter who covered every general election presidential debate from 1976 to 2000, was also a panelist for the 1976 vice presidential debate. He urged an “impartial organization” running the debate.

“Some of them have been Fox commentators, and now they’re players,” he said of the candidates. “In the worst case you would have conservative sweetheart questions directed to these guys. I would suspect that they will go to some lengths to try to appear impartial and appear even-handed so that it won’t look to be contrived and controlled. The shift to the right compelled by Fox News has changed the definition of what’s an impartial producer for a debate.”

Marvin Kalb, former host of Meet the Press, said Republican candidates have drifted ideologically to Fox, and Fox to them: “Buying time to win acceptance to a debate is only the latest twist in a long-standing drama. Up until now, buying time provided face time; now, in addition, it may win a place in a debate whose ground rules the network sets.”

For Walter Shapiro, who covered nine presidential campaigns dating back to 1980 for The Washington Post, Newsweek, Salon and others, the Republican Party is also to blame for “the total abject surrender to the TV networks.”

“By going first, Fox has made a mockery of the debates and it is because [Republican National Committee Chair] Reince Priebus punted and the RNC punted and said to Fox, ‘you figure it out,’ that much is clear,” Shapiro said. “This is a Republican forum.”

He later added, “Fox played a major role in making Donald Trump the central story on the Republican side. This is the moment where Republicans should begin to realize that Fox is a business entity concerned with ratings, with the elevation of Trump to the detriment of the rest of the Republican party.”


Mitt Romney: It Pains Me To Fire You

Mitt Romney - Caricature

Sure Gov. Romney…sure.

The Huffington Post

Mitt Romney said Saturday night that it pains him to fire workers in order to make a company more profitable, responding to criticism from Newt Gingrich, who cited a  New York Times story on one of Romney’s ventures.

“It always pains you if you have to be in a position of downsizing a business in order to make it more successful,” Romney said. “I’m not surprised to have the New York Times try to put free enterprise on trial…It’s a little surprising from my colleagues on this stage.”

Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney said that the laid-off workers are victims of the free market. “Sometimes investments don’t work and you’re not successful,” he said.

But Gingrich, the former House Speaker, questioned whether Romney’s private equity ventures were aimed at creating jobs or quick profit for capitalists.

Gingrich said he’s all for the free market, but “I’m not nearly enamored of a Wall Street model where you can go in and flip companies, have leveraged buyouts, basically take out all the money, leaving behind the workers.”

He cited 1,700 fired workers in a New York Times story on one of Romney’s corporate raids.

“If it’s factually accurate, it raises questions,” he said.