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What Was RNC Thinking in Selecting CNBC to host Debate?

What Was RNC Thinking in Selecting CNBC to host Debate?

What did they expect to happen?

If you watched the CNBC Republican primary debate last night and the political analysis that followed on FOX News or any other center right outlet, you know what a disaster the event was.

The moderators were so far left and openly combative that it was like watching a Republican debate moderated by the Democratic Party. CNBC’s moderators succeeded in making CNN’s Candy Crowley look fair and balanced.

Everyone who’s familiar with John Harwood and CNBC had some idea it was going to go this way. Everyone except Republican Party chairman, Reince Priebus. Following the debate, Priebus reacted harshly.

Ben Kamisar of The Hill:

RNC chief: ‘CNBC should be ashamed’

Republicans are lashing out at CNBC over Wednesday’s night’s GOP debate, with the party’s campaign chairman saying the network “should be ashamed” of how it was handled.

In a biting statement issued after the event concluded, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said that while he was “proud of our candidates and the way they handled tonight’s debate, the performance by the CNBC moderators was extremely disappointing and did a disservice to their network, our candidates, and voters.”

“Our diverse field of talented and exceptionally qualified candidates did their best to share ideas for how to reinvigorate the economy and put Americans back to work despite deeply unfortunate questioning.”

“CNBC should be ashamed of how this debate was handled.”

You know who else should be ashamed? Reince Priebus.

What did he think was going to happen? Did he think John Harwood and CNBC were going to be fair to Republicans? Agreeing to the network, venue and moderators were stupid mistakes.

Here’s a video of Priebus making his statement after the debate:

Will we ever see a Republican debate moderated by people who aren’t openly hostile to Republicans? Why is there no debate moderated by Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham and Thomas Sowell?

Reactions on Twitter were swift and harsh:

Featured image via YouTube.


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What were they thinking? That’s simple. It was a pre-arranged opportunity to trash the left wing moderators working for NBC “News”. An orchestrated appeal to the Republican base. All done at a time where the Republicans were not worried about angering their holy grail: the independents

    Anonamom in reply to sequester. | October 29, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Interesting point.

    Trouble is, up to this point I have seen no evidence the RNC thinks in such a manner or even considers the media to be the enemy. I have to assume they were hoping to let everyone get trashed and that this would somehow give Jeb a push. Their plans never seem to go any deeper than that.

      legalbeagle in reply to JohnC. | October 29, 2015 at 12:04 pm

      It may have just been for show on the part of the RNC. The timing was perfect. A Presidential Debate up against the World Series with a vote for House Speaker the next day.

      The media lifetime for the story was very short. Yet the candidates get to tell the Republican base they hit back at the liberal media.

    That would be nice, but Pee Wee Prebus is just not that talented. Secondly, Pee Wee and the rest of the scummy hacks that infest the GOP leadership are as great an enemy of Trump as any loon on left-wing television.

    Don’t look to the GOP to help us win anything. All these bastards hogging the leadership positions want is what they can take for themselves. Their base be damned.

    Hey, wait a minute: what base?

In an interview shortly after the debate, Barry Bennett, manager of the Ben Carson campaign, called the session here in Colorado “unfair to everyone” and said the current debate structure should not remain in place. “I think the families need to get together here, because these debates as structured by the RNC are not helping the party,” Bennett said. “There’s not enough time to talk about your plans, there’s no presentation. It’s just a slugfest. All we do is change moderators. And the trendline is horrific. So I think there needs to be wholesale change here.”

Bennett said he will call Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski Thursday to propose a unified call for change. “Corey and I talk regularly, so I will talk to him,” Bennett said. “I will call Frank Sadler (Carly Fiorina’s campaign manager), I will call those guys and say listen, we can choose our own network and our own format. We don’t need to be led around like prize steers.”

“I think at this point, if five or six of us get together, who generate the largest portion of the audience, we can force change,” Bennett said.
—Byron York, Washington Examiner

Seems like there’s some leadership breaking out! A small legal insurrection.


Reince Priebus needs to go. Now. He has been a disaster for a long time and this sort of thing has been complained about for years, this was just an extreme example last night. It was foreseeable and either Reince wants this sort of thing or is completely incompetent.

    TX-rifraph in reply to EBL. | October 29, 2015 at 9:12 am

    Perhaps the whole RNC needs to go along with the rest of the GOPe structure. The RNC’s task is “re-election” not representation. The RNC appears to be another self-serving bureaucracy owned by the sell-out Republican “leadership.”

    Stan25 in reply to EBL. | October 29, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    Rreince Priebus the Debbie Wassermann Schultz of the Republican Party.

    Peww Wee Prebus wants this sort of thing. He does what he’s told.

I don’t mean to suggest the RNC was clever and planned it this way, but… I think the format worked well for our candidates.
The moderators were not effective in marginalizing them, but did expose themselves as hacks.
The candidates seemed resilient and relatively unified.

If the RNC/GOP were slick enough to have purposely set up the MSM, CNBC in last night’s case, I think they’d be successful in other endeavors, a slickness that just isn’t in evidence.

GOPe = Charlie Brown
MSM = Lucy
‘Economic’ topics = Football

    What skill or talent did it take for the GOP hacks to sell us out by giving away the debate to CNBC? What talent did it take to give the last one to CNN?

    No talent at all. Just betrayal. Just look at former Squeaker Boehner, may he crawl in some hole and drink himself to oblivion. It’ll be fun to mock his funeral.

GOPe = Lucy
GOP voters = Charlie Brown
Topic = Any

I agree with Ben Shapiro, Reince should be fired ASAP. That he is allowing the GOP brand to be harmed by the media in this matter shows everyone how incompetent he is.

The GOP is quite capable of ruining their brand without CNBC pushing them around.

I have watched less than 15 minutes of the debate, and I don’t think I can watch any more of the damn disgusting thing.

I don’t even like Trump, but that “comic book version of a Presidential campaign” set the tone from the get-go.
Those are not moderators. They are just disrespectful pricks with an agenda.

    Obviously, the moderators take orders from the WH, via NBC Brass.

    Would Churchill allow the NAZI Party to moderate a national level debate in London in 1939?

    This was an unmitigated CF ON STEROIDS and the blame rests squarely on the GOP itself… The gutless sack of dog crap that they are.

    The Liberal Media is a collection of vipers waiting to strike and the GOP served up our competitors like slaves in an ISIS auction.

      rabidfox in reply to VotingFemale. | October 29, 2015 at 11:43 pm

      I’m beginning to wonder if the GOPe wasn’t hoping that CNBC wouldn’t slime enough of the leading candidates that Jeb! might come roaring back.

Rick Santelli should been only one to ask questions from the CNBC staff. He would have honed in on Tea Party fiscal and monetary concerns.

Instead, what we got was a Jim Cramer “Mad Money” style debate w/o the sound effects.

Nah. The point was to orchestrate a coronation for Jeb. The moderators have *tried* to set him up with softball questions that he’s got pre-written answers for — and he can’t deliver his lines. It’s exactly what the DNC is doing for Hillary, only the DNC is much better at it.

I want to see two or three real debates:

The “Talk Radio” debate: Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and Laura Ingraham.

and the Right-wing wonk debate: Charles Krauthammer, George Will, and Thomas Sowell.

Heck, I’d love to see a third libertarianish debate hosted by the PJTV guys.

Not going to happen — but each of those three debates would drill down on a different set of issues that GOP primary voters really care about. And at least if the moderators were hostile to the candidates it would reflect the hostility of an actual GOP constituency.

    PhillyGuy in reply to clintack. | October 29, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    How about we get the hosts from the View or The Talk to moderate a debate? Then we could get the guys from ESPN NFL Gameday. Finally we should get the hosts from E! News. Way to go Reince.

buckeyeminuteman | October 29, 2015 at 12:58 pm

First and last time I have ever watched CNBC.

Also, why can’t Republicans and Democrats vote for their party chairs in the primary election? I know I’d never vote for either of the two clowns chairing the parties.

“Nah. The point was to orchestrate a coronation for Jeb. The moderators have *tried* to set him up with softball questions that he’s got pre-written answers for — and he can’t deliver his lines. It’s exactly what the DNC is doing for Hillary, only the DNC is much better at it.” Clintack

Exactly. We get these formats because the GOPe is determined to use the media hacks to promote their candidate(s), not the GOP in general. Kudo’s to Cruz who led the charge against the hacks. Leadership shown.

Pft, it’s a simple reason why this keeps happening, really. The GOP thinks they can get the media’s support same way as the DNC if they play nice.

Linked over at:

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Radius. | October 29, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    To support your thesis, today Kasich complimented the CNBC moderators for the fine job they did. No, really.

      And there you have it. By any objective measure on all sides of the aisle the CNBC debate was a jounalistic abortion. Yet there’s Kasich sidling up to them saying “I know it wasn’t your fault. I know you really love me. I love you too.”

      Although what Kasich hopes to gain when literally EVERYONE thought the debate was horrible is beyond me. Hell even Priebus came out against it. Maybe he’s going senile early?

      That is, in and of itself, a good reason why Kasich won’t get my vote. He’s so far out of reality that he’s looking for the large white rabbit with the pocket watch.

        Henry Hawkins in reply to rabidfox. | October 30, 2015 at 12:31 pm

        Kasich holds the GOPe idea that if they’re just nice to the MSM and don’t make any fusses with anyone and don’t fight anything, the independents (45% of voters compared to 24% for Republicans) will come to them.

        It’s not a crazy idea to them and their proof is that Mitt Romney overwhelmingly won the independent voters in 2012. Now we just need to explain to them that Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election. I’m not sure they’re aware of these 2012 results as yet. In their defense, they’ve only had three years to digest them.

Priebus should really step down. No one in his position can be THAT dumb!. Unless there’s some hidden strategy to allow hostile media to weed out the non-establishment candidates? Do you think the Dems would allow their candidates to go before an ALL FOX NEWS panel?

Priebus should be fired immediately. The GOP is truly the Stupid Party.

Henry Hawkins | October 29, 2015 at 7:31 pm

The only defense for Priebus is that there aren’t many TV media corporations capable of producing a national presidential debate that aren’t hyper-liberal.

That’s why I advise they hire a neutral, professional team to moderate and then take bids on the broadcast rights with the codicil that whichever network wins the rights has to accept that team without interference, just stage it and broadcast it.

GOPe are happy with their cucklove media. They want to move to the left. They want globalism and a president that cares as much or more about illegal aliens and Mexicans as Americans.

Why stage them the way they do? Because they can.

Pee Wee Prebus is not merely incompetent, but as scummy a backstabbing louse and sellout as former Squeaker Boehner.

Prebus is part of a GOP hit parade of sewage. Let’s keep passionately trying to rain on it.

Meantime, the Trump vote-machine marches on. Thanks Pee Wee!

Ever since Candy Cowley ran interference for Barry in the 2012 debate the ‘Ican Party should have vowed to never again let Leftists news personalities anywhere near a debate. Choose an unbiased professor of rhetoric to moderate, and let the candidates set the agenda ala Lincoln – Douglas. If you have to have news personalities involved (a bad idea), use conservative personalities, not vetted progressives. At least balance the panel.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Skookum. | October 30, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Reince Priebus made exactly that promise, that he would never again let a debate moderator team attack GOP candidates. FAIL.