Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus criticized CNBC following the third Republican presidential debate on Oct. 28. Describing the questions as asked by the moderators as “unfortunate,” Priebus was joined by the candidates in chiding the network.
Shortly after the debate ended, Priebus released a statement claiming that “the performance by the CNBC moderators was extremely disappointing and did a disservice to their network, our candidates, and voters,” reports The Hill.
“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,” Priebus says. “I will fight to ensure future debates allow for a more robust exchange.”
The chairman concluded: "CNBC should be ashamed of how this debate was handled."
The Republican candidates were highly critical of moderators Carl Quintanilla, Becky Quick and John Harwood, expressing contempt even before the debate was finished, ABC News reports.
“The questions asked in this debate illustrate why the American people don't trust the media,” Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas exclaimed, accusing the moderators of trying to turn the candidates against each other. “This is not a cage match.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie let his disdain be known when former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was asked about fantasy football regulation, ABC News reports.
“Are we really talking about getting government involved in fantasy football?” Christie asks. “Can we stop?”
Bush’s campaign manager, Danny Diaz, personally complained to CNBC bosses after the candidate was given only six minutes to speak, according to The New York Times.
“"I think it's unfortunate that we didn't have more time,” says Diaz. “I communicated that.”
Bush told of his own dissatisfaction on CNN shortly after the debate, ABC News reports.
“I was asked three questions … it was not a fair debate in that regard,” said Bush. Bush said that while he was excited to discuss entitlement reform and national debt, “I got fantasy football.”
CNBC spokesman Brian Steel defended the network’s handling of the debate: “People who want to be president of the United States should be able to answer tough questions.”