Marco Rubio bests CNBC, rest of the GOP field in terrible third debate

AJC Photo / Hyosub Shin

Let’s start with an acknowledgment that only Dante himself is qualified to describe to us the hell we witnessed on CNBC Wednesday night, with each successive entrant on the list of losers plumbing new depths until the network itself reached a place which 14th-century man could not fathom.

It was that bad.

For years, most members of the media have been reluctant to call out their brethren for bias and give credence to a long-held Republican beef. But so transparently, and pathetically, bad were the questions of CNBC’s “moderators” in the third GOP debate that the gloves came off. Typical was this line from Juan Williams:

Here is what Williams may have been referring to. And from there, we go on to the patently astonishing:

 

The moderates asked candidates stupid questions — regulating daily fantasy football games? that’s really a priority? — and then didn’t even let them finish. Tough questions are a good thing, but another thing altogether from what we saw Wednesday. If you want to see tough questions, so back and watch the first debate on Fox News.

***

All that said, there must be a “biggest loser” among the candidates themselves, and the answer here is an emphatic: Jeb Bush.

Bush went into the debate badly needing a performance that justified his continued candidacy. He delivered one that just might have driven a stake through it. He was as listless as ever, with the panicked look of a boy about to be punched by the school bully every time a moderator addressed him. There is nothing comfortable about him as a candidate at this point, and that was clear well before the moderators made a hash of things.

But most devastating was the exchange he had with Marco Rubio early on in the debate, when there’s a pretty good chance people were still watching. Bush and his team had indicated for days a desire to tangle with his fellow Floridian, specifically on the issue of his missed votes in the Senate. Right after Rubio had finished handling — quite well — a question about it from the moderators, Bush swung … and missed. He tried to lecture Rubio “as a constituent” about the missed votes, but he came across more like a disappointed dad. And then Rubio, clearly ready for the attack, counter-punched about Bush’s failure to criticize John McCain for missing Senate votes during his 2008 run. “The only reas­on you’re do­ing it now is be­cause we’re run­ning for the same po­s­i­tion and someone has con­vinced you that at­tack­ing me is go­ing to help you,” the younger statesman said.

Shortly thereafter came this:

It seems stupid-crazy to think the next Republican to drop out of the race would not be George Pataki, Jim Gilmore or Rick Santorum, but the man who has already raised some $133 million, more than Rubio and Ted Cruz combined. But whether Bush is the next candidate to leave the race or not, his candidacy seems dead in the water more than a year from Election Day, a development even more stunning than Donald Trump’s months-long run atop the opinion polls.

Speaking of Trump, he did little to nothing to make me think he will reverse his recent, gradual slide. Other quick hitters:

  • Rubio was the clear winner of the night in my view. Not only with the way he KO’d Bush, but he led the counter-charge from the stage against the moderators that ultimately became the night’s top storyline. In a debate short on questions that could prompt substantive answers, Rubio shined the brightest.
  • Cruz also did quite well, despite a very shaky start. (“If you want someone to grab a beer with, I may not be that guy. But if you want someone to drive you home, I will get the job done and I will get you home,” he said, by way of explaining his “biggest weakness” as a candidate.) He nailed points about taxes, Social Security and the economy. On the last of those, he managed to touch on Democrats, big government, trial lawyers, the plight of single mothers, religion, and how poorly women have fared under the Obama presidency.
  • Carly Fiorina did well but didn’t hit any home runs. I came away thinking she would have done better with more screen time, but it turns out she got the most of anyone, so maybe she was a little less impressive than I initially thought. She joked at the outset that she’d heard her biggest weakness was the need to smile more, but after that answer I don’t recall a lot of grins from her. Still, she did nothing to hurt herself, had some good answers about her tenure at H-P and about crony capitalism, and could benefit if Bush continues to fall.
  • John Kasich would’ve been poised to benefit from a Bush fall, and seemingly has been waiting for that the entire race. But while he began strong by arguing his experience made him a better choice than “someone who cannot do this job” — what seemed like a clear reference to outsiders Trump and Ben Carson — he faded from there and wound up with a mostly unmemorable performance despite getting the third-most speaking time (a greatly outsized amount given his poll numbers).
  • Carson was as meh as ever. I recognize I am not the audience he’s seeking, but I always come away from these debates truly wondering what people see in him. Yes, he comes from outside the political system. Yes, he is an obviously brilliant man. I just don’t think those are enough to qualify him for the job, and on questions about taxes and the economy he sometimes seemed out of his depth.
  • Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Chris Christie: Thanks for playing, but you’re going nowhere.

Reader Comments 0

99 comments
JoelEdge
JoelEdge

"Yes, he is an obviously brilliant man. I just don’t think those are enough to qualify him for the job..."


Considering the last two (and current) occupant of the job, he couldn't so any worse. We need to stop thinking the office of the president requires some training from an elite university. 

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@JoelEdge "We need to stop thinking the office of the president requires some training from an elite university."

Well, Carson went to Yale, so does that disqualify him?

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

What I like most about Rubio, aside from the fact he's a quick study with a curiosity to learn?

He can't be riled. He's cool, calm, and collected in all situations. Pleasantly passionate. 

M H Smith
M H Smith

@FIGMO2 

Rubio can be riled, excited and angry. He is able to manage these human traits better than most. 



Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@M H Smith "He is able to manage these human traits better than most."

Which is an underrated skill the president should have.

stogiefogey
stogiefogey

Been a CNBC fan for years 'cause I'm a business news junkie, but I was surprised and disappointed at the way they conducted the debate. The mods were unprepared and clearly out of their depth.

Bruno2
Bruno2

MarkVV: The moderators were the big losers – many of their questions were sophomoric, and rightfully later criticized.

Kudos to Mark VV for being the only Lib on board with the intellectual honesty to articulate what everyone else saw clearly last night.  The tone and content of many of the questions revealed a deep disrespect on the part of the moderators which was unwarranted.  As Jeb Bush said, it would be a lot easier for all of these candidates to stay home and enjoy their private lives.  Everyone deserves respect for trying, IMO. 

M H Smith: If people can't afford Obamacare's high deductibles what makes Rubio and Price along with the rest of these GOP puffs of air think by throwing people into  high  risk pools cutting their subsidies removing the price protections of stop loss and no drop policies on insurance companie...

Apparently M H Smith is as uninformed as the moderators in last night's debate. The high risk insurance pools proposed by Tom Price will be primarily paid for with federal tax dollars, so no additional subsidies will be needed. In that way, the costs of the high-end users of medical care will be borne primarily by the wealthy, who pay the vast majority of federal taxes.  Under Obamacare, these high-end users of medical care are forced into the general insurance pool, such that the cost is primarily borne by the middle class, who have to pay greatly inflated premiums to cover the astronomical costs. 

M H Smith
M H Smith

@Bruno2 

The healthcare money problems will not go away so where are these tax dollars going to come from, the rich are going to get tax cuts according to the Republicans. Old Tom is trying to pull a fast one.  


He probably will not get his idea passed into law so I'm not worried and the way these Republicans are going, Hillary just might win.

Bruno2
Bruno2

@M H Smith @Bruno2 The only true problem in health care in this country is the unjustifiable costs.  I know, since I work in health care.  And, as I've explained ad infinitum on this blog and others, most of the runaway costs can be directly traced back to an over-reliance on the third party billing system.

If you're looking for real reform, we need to restore consumerism to medical care, in which people pay cash for routine services and have insurance only for catastrophic care.  Unfortunately, taking responsibility for their health care is the last thing most people want to do, so they'd rather pay 3-4 times what that care should cost as long as they don't have to think and ask questions.

Dusty2
Dusty2

I did not watch the  "debates". Did they debate anything at all?  Just gave impressions!! I already have my impressions.  JEB Bush may not come across as Winston Churchill  but his record is good experience, sharp mind, past history of honesty and reason  He's no "shocker" (Trump), or young knight (Rubio) or  "mindful wonder" (Carson) or "gender spot"(Fiorina) or old firecracker (Kusich). 


JEB is just the smart quiet guy in the crowd who knows the answer but doesn't "show off".


Seems like America has enough of  windy wonders of spectacular  speeches and nifty nostrums.  Time for reliability again.  JEB is the quiet man of Rescue America.  We need him badly!

Bruno2
Bruno2

@Dusty2 I'll give you the benefit of the doubt about Jeb Bush being the "smart guy" in the crowd, but he'll need to show more enthusiasm if he expects to win over the general electorate.

For all of Donald trumps shortcomings, he knows how to generate enthusiasm.  I hope he stays in the race in order to keep that enthusiasm level high among the other candidates.  Contrast the excitement/interest level last night to the Democratic snoozefest a few weeks ago, and you'll see what I mean.

Thus far, Rand Paul and Marc Rubio come across as the most thoughtful Republican candidates IMO.  As I said before, if Rubio will drop some of the far right wing social positions, he'll have my vote.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@Dusty2  Dear Dusty, your intimate knowledge of Mr. Jeb Bush’s qualities is one thing, but most voters have to make a decision based on the performance of the candidates in the election campaign, as they watch it on TV and compare it with the performance of the other candidates.

bu2
bu2

@Bruno2 @Dusty2

What was Rubio thoughtful about?  I just saw a bunch of mindless feel good platitudes, along with a lot of Hillary like evasion when he was questioned about himself.

Classof98
Classof98

When asked about marijuana legalization, Kasich said they "could do a whole show on overdoses" before transitioning to his pre-prepared talking points about something completely off topic.

Yep, those tourists in Denver who ate a little too much of the brownie and freaked out in the hotel room for an hour or two are a real national crisis, John. (Sarcasm)

Chris Christie won. He always wins, but nobody sees it except me.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Lately, Fiorina likes to say: "92% of the jobs lost during Barack Obama's first term belonged to women."

She said it Thursday morning on CNN. She said it Wednesday nightat the debate, and she wrote it in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week.


On the wrong-o-meter, this gets a 10 out of 10.


There were actually more women working at the end of Obama's first term than when he started.

Here are the official government numbers:

January 2009: There were 66.5 million American women working in non-farm jobs.

January 2013: There were 66.9 million.

That's an increase of over 400,000 working females in Obama's first term.

So where did Fiorina come up with this statistic?


It's an old figure pulled from the failed Mitt Romney 2012 playbook. At that time, many factchecking groups, including the Washington Post and Politifact, debunked the claim.


No wonder they want to talk about the moderators huh ?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@bu2 @JFMcNamara  Jeb is not a northeast Republican.  He was born and raised in Texas, mostly in Houston.  He's very much a Texas type Republican.


The Bush's are old money Connecticut. Ivy league all the way.


They turn the Texas drawl on and off when needed. 

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

@bu2 @JFMcNamara  , I think the point is that he is not a Texas Republican anymore.  Ted Cruz is a Texas Republican, and they are clearly not the same. (Technically, he was be a Florida Republican anyway). Overall, Democrats have moved left, but the far left does not control the party.   The Republicans have shifted less to the right, but they are controlled by the far right.  The difference is that the moderate Republicans, which are the majority, effectively have no leader. 


He would peel off a lot of moderates and gain some support from Clinton backers. I think you are overstating the Democratic hatred of Bushes.  W was one of worst Presidents in history and that's why Republicans don't want Jeb.  Republicans are shunning him now because he can't distinguish himself from his brother, not Democrats.   Going Democrat would separate him from his brother and at least give him a shot.  He doesn't have one now.

bu2
bu2

@JFMcNamara

Clueless article.  As Kyle has repeatedly pointed out, Democrats don't understand how far left they are.  And they irrationally hate all Bushes.


Jeb is not a northeast Republican.  He was born and raised in Texas, mostly in Houston.  He's very much a Texas type Republican.

bu2
bu2

@JFMcNamara @bu2


I lived in Texas until a few years ago.  Cruz is further right than most Texas Republicans.  There are a lot more pragmatic Republicans than Freedom Caucus types there.  John Tower, Phil Gramm, Kay Bailey Hutchinson and John Coryn, the Republican US Senators have all been to the left of Cruz, usually well to the left.  Perry was left of Cruz.


They don't turn on and off the accent.  W. sounds like Midland where he was raised.  Jeb has a Houston accent where he was raised.  If you know Texas, you can hear the difference between them.


W is viewed much better by Republicans than by Democrats and Independents.  The view of W. is not why Jeb is struggling.  I think its more dissatisfaction with Boehner and McConnell that is hurting Jeb.  "Establishment Republicans" are associated with those two.  Christie, Walker, Kasich, Jindal, Bush, Pataki are all experienced governors and combined aren't polling much over 10%.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@Hedley_Lammar What does Hillary read?  Anyone ever asked her?  No, because there is this assumed media bias that she is the worlds smartest woman.  Ted Cruz, who Allen Dershowitcz says is the smartest student he ever had at Harvard, is treated as a dunce by the media, because that is what the media want to convey to you.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@RafeHollister @Hedley_Lammar He has been mailing it in for awhile now


Republican presidential candidates turned fire on the media on Wednesday as their economic policies were put under the spotlight in an acrimonious but revealing presidential debate in Colorado.


From Lindsey Graham’s bold hand gestures to Jeb Bush offering his ‘warm kiss’, here are some quick highlights from the third GOP debate. Tough questioning from CNBC moderators, who pressed the candidates over the viability of their tax plans, prompted Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Ben Carson and others to unite against the television network, attacking them for bias.


http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/oct/28/republican-debate-cnbc-media-economic-policy



Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@RafeHollister @Hedley_Lammar What does Hillary read?  Anyone ever asked her?


I'm sure they have and i'm betting she is well read.


Palin doesn't read at all. And instead of just admitting that she thought it would make her look stupid. So she stammered to answer.


And in the process looked even dumber

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@RafeHollister @Hedley_Lammar http://www.vox.com/2015/10/28/9633420/ted-cruz-republican-debate


Cruz's attack on the moderators was smart politics — but it was almost precisely backwards. The questions in the CNBC debate, though relentlessly tough, were easily the most substantive of the debates so far. And the problem for Republicans is that substantive questions about their policy proposals end up sounding like hostile attacks — but that's because the policy proposals are ridiculous, not because the questions are actually unfair.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@Hedley_Lammar Well even tho I still don't know what Hillary reads, it became apparent to me that she obviously doesn't read emails begging for more security.  Maybe she reads Jackie Collins romance novels, ha!

STHornet1990
STHornet1990

@RafeHollister @Hedley_Lammar  You would be wrong about the emails. Go check the ones posted online that took $4.6M to get.

And if you want to ask her what she reads send an email to that private account you hate so much.

I bet she has a very clear answer for you.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Headley called "confirmation bias" on the allegation that the media representatives last night confirmed what we all know to be true about the media bias and advocacy for the proggies.  Some on the left apparently are ashamed of the hack job done by the moderators.  I'm guessing Mr. Grove would say be a little more subtle about attacking these folks to create some plausible deniability, to borrow a phrase from Slick Willie.


http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/10/29/lamestream-cnbc-moderators-blamed-for-gop-debate-debacle.html



The mainstream media—as represented by the business cable network’s principal moderators, Carl Quintanilla, Becky Quick, and especially John Harwood—took it on the chin as candidate after candidate, to hearty applause from the partisan audience at the University of Colorado, pointed out that their questions were inaccurate, unfair, or otherwise plain silly. .

.....


At this point, given the grievous injuries inflicted on Team CNBC by Cruz’s quite reasonable characterization of the debate dynamic, the only thing left to do was to shoot the wounded.

Sensing weakness, the candidates proceeded to run roughshod over the moderators for the duration of the debate, ignoring their instructions to stop talking and adhere to previously agreed-upon time limits.

And who could blame them?

M H Smith
M H Smith

The best way to pin these GOP candidates is to use the internet to search out what they have said what they will do or intend to do  if elected.


Rubio for instance want have high risk pools as part of a Obamacare sound familiar? You'd be right if you said yes it's one repeat of Tom Price  healthcare plan. 

Problem is Rubio talks about saving Medicare? What to these two Rubio and Price think Medicare is if it isn't a high risk pool? Secondly does anyone need the phrase high risk interpreted it should be a rhetoric question: It means high priced insurance with high deductibles and premiums.

One of the biggest failing of Obamacare is the costs of the plans premiums and unreal deductibles for the coverage mostly not much coverage in the low price stuff. If people can't afford Obamacare's high deductibles what makes Rubio and Price along with the rest of these GOP puffs of air think by throwing people into  high  risk pools cutting their subsidies removing the price protections of stop loss and no drop policies on insurance companies they have done better than Obamacare when in fact what they propose is what brought Omamacare into being the law of the land. 

Rubio is wrong on abortion if he doesn't correct his statement appearing on CNN, he's wrong on his ten year penalty for illegal aliens once they are legalized they shouldn't be treated as felons by imposing ten year penalties on them before they can become citizens. 

I had some hope for him once but no more. These three points are as far as I need to go.   

MarkVV
MarkVV

@M H Smith “One of the biggest failing of Obamacare is the costs of the plans premiums and unreal deductibles for the coverage mostly not much coverage in the low price stuff.

Obamacare sets plans premiums and deductibles? Show me the part of the ACA law that does that!

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@MarkVV @M H Smith

Show us where MHS said Obamacare sets premiums and deductibles.

The premiums and deductibles merely reflect the cost of the benefits mandated by Obamacare's one-size-fits-all coverage requirements.

M H Smith
M H Smith

@LilBarryBailout @MarkVV @M H Smith 

Covering all illness affordability is the idea either you do what the socialist do with price controls or pay whatever the these insurance companies charge no matter how much they want or go without. Which the Republicans would prefer.

M H Smith
M H Smith

@LilBarryBailout @MarkVV @M H Smith 

If you have read the plans you would know where it is written. But for sake of correcting you.

 Premiums and deductibles merely reflect- somewhat - the cost of the benefits you are paying for and for some you are not covered

M H Smith
M H Smith

@MarkVV @M H Smith 

Have you read what is in  the plans? I mean I know  $6,000 to $12,000 is pocket change to you but to the people who buy these silver and bronze plans to get a cheap premium because they cannot afford to buy better quality care.

Your statement tells me you have read or simply don't no what is in the ACA plans.

Most people buy these bronze and silver plans without thinking it through all the while they think they have more than they paid for and got a real deal.


MarkVV
MarkVV

@LilBarryBailout @MarkVV @M H Smith Nonsense. The insurance companies do not pay for services that are not relevant , therefore they have no reason to charge for them in  premiums. The premiums reflect the actual medical expenses, not imaginary ones.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@M H Smith @MarkVV Amazing how you know what "most people" do "without thinking."  Only ignorants say or write something like that.  One more time, there are no "ACA" plans. There are plans offered by insurance companies. And, I know very well what is in many of the plans being offered.

straker
straker


Kyle, Rubio said Sunday, on Meet the Press that he would "support any legislation that reduces the number of abortions"


Is that enough "context" for you?

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@straker That's not "context." That's a completely different statement from what you posted earlier.

MANGLER
MANGLER

I did chuckle when Gov. Kasich said the other candidates' tax plans were in fantasy land, which caused them to go back and try to defend how lowering taxes to anywhere from 10% to 15% to 25% will reduce the deficit.  Not sure Carson was ready for that direct of an attack.


I almost forgot Huckabee was on stage until he spoke for a minute near the end.


Trump was slightly less Trumpy than usual, but still explained that things will be amazing simply because they will.


Seeing the pi**ing match between Bush and Rubio was slightly entertaining.  Agreed, Bush just isn't bringing the oomph needed at this point in any race.


(bias alert) Cruz just seems a little smarmy and I struggle to take him seriously.


Fiorina does well speaking concisely, and when she chooses to, answering the question asked.  I believe that a direct debate between her and the Democratic choice ... especially if it's Hillary, would be something to watch.


But it's still hard to hear well to do politicians and business people trying to talk directly to middle the class voter. Climbing through the ranks using public subsidies, and then once you're wealthy, rallying to remove those same subsidies just doesn't seem too sincere.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

@M H Smith @MANGLER Um, if the costs are "beyond the ability of the majority of people in this country [to] pay" --- just how sustainable could you POSSIBLY believe this USG ponzi scheme is? Federal government healthcare solutions are going to be paid by income earners and primarily by kicking costs down the road - debt. How about a little "natural law"? You get Alzheimer's, YOU pay for the health care you receive. If you want to protect yourself economically you buy (and pay for) insurance. Stop leaning on your neighbor with a Federal gun pointed at their head.

M H Smith
M H Smith

@MANGLER 

That is part of the problem with these Libertarians in the GOP, they would have you believe they can fix everything with tax cuts and spending cuts.  

We have a $3 trillion a year health care system which will only get astronomically higher, you cannot fix that with tax cuts and spending cuts or with phony offsets. 

The cost of Alzheimer's alone is going to be enough in the coming years to double the the present $3 trillion a year and this is just one illness

We have to fix healthcare and the only way to do it reasonably, because the numbers are so large and beyond the ability of the majority of people in this country pay, government will have to step in with a user fee or a VAT to manage the budget.

   

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

Out of the lot of 'em, I think Kasich might be my choice. Sure, he's played to the far-right base recently, but he's coming across as someone who can compromise and lean on common sense at times, instead of towing the party line. While that is a good item to have in my book, it doesn't play well at all with the far-right. 

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@LogicalDude

Kasich is the only one who should be on that stage and the only one deserving of the R nomination.  But the crazies have marginalized him and so it will remain I believe.

H2O_Dawg
H2O_Dawg

@Eye wonder @LogicalDude Totally agree on Kasich. He seems like the only one who has actually 'done it' and served at multiple levels. I know he's not an 'outsider' but I think he'd be the best president. I also hear Paul and Christie with good ideas, but along with Kasich, I just don't think any of them can actually get the nomination. Not dynamic enough. SMH