Gotta blame someone I guess.
With conservative leaders sharply criticizing CNBC’s manner of moderating Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debate—which featured multiple questions framed as personal attacks on the candidates–former Attorney General Ed Meese said the leaders of the Republican National Committee who allowed CNBC to moderate the debate should be condemned.
“After 15 minutes it was clear that this was not a debate, but a verbal shooting gallery set up by CNBC, with the targets the Republican candidates and the shooters their biased antagonists from the press,” said Meese.
“Ted Cruz accurately described what was going on,” he said. “Whoever selected the ‘moderators’ should be fired and the RNC leaders who allowed it should be condemned.”
The three moderators for the debate were CNBC’s John Harwood, Becky Quick and Carl Quintanilla.
Cruz—as Meese mentioned–rebuked CNBC for the nature of its questions. Cruz did so when responding to a question from Quintanilla about Cruz’s opposition to the spending-and-debt-limit deal cut this week between President Obama and resigning House Speaker John Boehner.
“Does your opposition to it show that you are not the kind of problem solver the American voters want?” asked Quintanilla.
“Let me say something at the outset,” said Cruz. “The questions that you have asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people do not trust the media.
“This is not a cage match,” said Cruz.
“And if you 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. Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen? How about talking about the substantive issues people care about.”
At that point, the audience burst into applause.
“Carl, I am not finished yet,” said Cruz. “The contrast with the Democratic debate, where every fawning question from the media was: Which of you is more handsome and wise?”
A moment later, Cruz said: “Nobody watching at home believes that any of the moderators have any intention of voting in a Republican primary. The questions that are being asked shouldn’t be trying to get the people to tear into each other, it should be: What are your substantive solutions for people who are hurting?”
Soon after this, pollster Frank Luntz sent out a Tweet: “Ted Cruz’s focus group dials hits 98 with his attack on media bias. That’s the highest score we’ve ever measured. EVER.”