Wednesday night’s Republican debate in Boulder, Colo., brought 10 GOP presidential contenders together at a critical campaign moment for several of them.
Before the main event, four White House hopefuls who failed to qualify for the main stage faced off in an undercard debate.
SOCIAL STUDIES | A fun GIF from our analytics partners at Zignal Labs shows the emojis included in tweets about the various candidates:
SOCIAL STUDIES | The most social moment of the debate on Facebook was when Ted Cruz criticized the questions being asked by the moderators, according to the social network.
A Facebook spokesman said that the top five issues discussed during the debate on the site were: 1. Taxes; 2. Social Security and Medicare; 3. Super PACs; 4. Jobs and Employment; and 5. Climate Change.
The top candidates discussed during the debate on Facebook: 1. Cruz; 2. Donald Trump; 3. Ben Carson; 4. Marco Rubio; and 5. Jeb Bush.
The most engaged states on Facebook during the debate: 1. West Virginia; 2. Virginia; 3. Tennessee; 4. South Carolina; and 5. Kentucky.
By Michael Smith
Commentators, many of them in the media, piled on CNBC anchors for their handling of the debate. They bashed the questions by moderators Carlos Quintanilla, Becky Quick and John Harwood, and the fact the debate began late.
They also blamed the Republican National Committee and Chair Reince Priebus for the way the debate was managed, predicting “serious blowback.” Politico reported that Jeb Bush campaign manager Danny Diaz got in a “heated debate” with a CNBC producer while the debate was ongoing.
According to the publication: “Diaz was complaining about speaking time allotments. ‘It’s a poorly managed debate,’ said a Bush campaign staffer.”
Priebus took to Twitter immediately following the debate to bash it, perhaps also trying to insulate himself from further criticism.
CNBC should be ashamed of how this debate was handled. #GOPDebate
— Reince Priebus (@Reince) October 29, 2015
He followed up by pledging better procedures for future face-offs:
I will fight to ensure future debates allow for a more robust exchange. #GOPDebate
— Reince Priebus (@Reince) October 29, 2015
Strong sense in Boulder debate will be media/CNBC story above all. Words 'disaster,' 'catastrophe' flying around. Serious blowback for RNC.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) October 29, 2015
CNBC anchors just got obliterated tonight, by the candidates, the audience in Boulder, and fellow journalists on Twitter. Story coming.
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) October 29, 2015
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) October 29, 2015
— Neil Cavuto (@TeamCavuto) October 29, 2015
Gov. Chris Christie chimed in to discuss the issue of police morale, referencing recent remarks made by FBI Director James Comey suggesting that law enforcement officers may be pulling back amid heightened scrutiny.
“The FBI director, the President’s appointed FBI director, has said this week that because of a lack of support from politicians like the President of the United States, that police officers are afraid to get out of their cars, that they’re afraid to enforce the law,” Christie said during the debate. “And he says, the president’s appointee, that crime is going up because of this.”
Comey’s remarks touched on the so-called “Ferguson effect,” the suggestion that policing has changed since a white officer shot a black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., sparking a national protest against how police use lethal force. This contested theory suggests that as police officers have pulled back, criminals have become more emboldened.
Homicide rates have risen in dozens of U.S. cities, but criminologists say it is too early to know what precisely is happening.
However, in speeches in Chicago earlier this week and last week, Comey did not say he believes police officers are pulling back due to a lack of support, nor did he point to any lack of support from politicians. Rather, Comey pointed to what he called the “age of viral videos,” saying he believed officers are afraid of being recorded and having their actions become the focus of a public outcry.
“In today’s YouTube world, are officers reluctant to get out of their cars and do the work that controls violent crime?” Comey asked during a speech Monday before the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Chicago.
Current and former police officers have voiced similar concerns this year, with many pointing to the proliferation of smartphones as a growing issue. Comey’s suggestion that police officers were pulling back on the job as a result — which he also made last week — has drawn criticism from civil rights activists, law enforcement officials and the White House.
In a private meeting in Washington this month, during a gathering of more than 100 of the country’s top law enforcement officers and politicians, many officials made similar comments. So far, there has been no evidence of police broadly pulling back in major cities.
The campaign manager for Jeb Bush confirms that he expressed concerns to CNBC about the format and management of tonight’s presidential debate.
“I expressed my concerns with the amount of time that we’ve had. I think that’s pretty clear,” Diaz told The Washington Post by telephone.
News reports from Boulder said that Diaz was spotted in “a heated confrontation” with a CNBC producer about the debate.
Tallies taken by The New York Times and NPR during the debate showed Bush trailing his opponents in speaking time. As of 10:01 p.m. ET, Bush had spoken just four minutes and 24 seconds, the Times said.
THE CONTENDERS | From Wonkblog’s Max Ehrenfreund:
Donald Trump and the other presidential candidates in Wednesday night’s primary debate have spent a fair amount of time blaming the media for misrepresenting their positions.
Trump, though, appeared to contradict his campaign’s own published white paper on immigration with his statements on visas for skilled immigrants — the controversial H-1B program, as its known.
THE CONTENDERS | From The Fix’s Amber Phillips:
The scene was set for two former political buddies to become adversaries Wednesday night. Only one was truly ready for the fight.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) walked into CNBC’s Republican primary debate under fire from allies of his former mentor, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, for missing votes in the Senate.
A Bush-supporting super PAC, “Right to Rise,” had set up a Twitter account earlier Wednesday, @IsMarcoWorking, mocking Rubio’s absence in Washington. And sure enough, once the debate got started, Bush went for the attack.
Well, kind of.
“When you signed up for this, this is a six-year term, and you should be showing up to work,” Bush said, turning to his former mentee in the Florida legislature, who was standing right next to him by virtue of where the polls stand right now. “You can campaign or just resign and let someone else take the job.”
This has been in the news for days, and Rubio was clearly ready for it. Squaring his shoulders and widening his stance, he immediately blasted back that Bush was making something out of nothing.
“Gun-free zones, when you say that, that’s target practice for the mentally ill. … They look around for gun-free zones. We can give you another example. … The six soldiers that were killed — two of them were of the most highly decorated — they weren’t allowed, on the military base, to have guns. And somebody walked in and shot them and killed them. If they had guns he [the shooter] wouldn’t have been around very long, I can tell you.”
–Businessman Donald Trump
Trump, referring to the shooting at the Naval Reserve center in Chattanooga, Tenn., in July, is wrong on this point. The service members at the Naval Reserve center in Chattanooga, Tenn., were armed. In fact, the military is investigating why they were armed, as the Pentagon has restrictions on who can carry weapons at such facilities.
The FBI said a 24-year-old gunman armed with a semiautomatic assault rifle and a handgun methodically hunted for Marines and sailors to kill.
As The Washington Post’s Adam Goldman reported:
Edward Reinhold, special agent in charge of the FBI’s field office in Knoxville, Tenn., provided the first definitive account of the terrorist attack that left four Marines and a Navy petty officer dead.
Reinhold told reporters at a news conference in Chattanooga that Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez smashed through the gate of the reserve center last Thursday and was almost immediately confronted by a service member who had his own gun.
The service member fired several rounds, but it has not yet been determined whether he managed to hit Abdulazeez, who quickly entered the reserve center looking for targets, mortally wounding the sailor inside the building.
In another installment of media as punching bag, Christie attacked the CNBC moderators for a question about the fantasy football insider trading scandal. “Who cares?!” he says, to whoops from the crowd.
Christie went on further attack when interrupted by moderator John Harwood: “What you’re doing is considered rude in New Jersey.” The crowd whooped again.
“The socialist [Sen. Bernie Sanders] says they’re going to pay for everything and give you everything for free, except they don’t tell you they’re going to raise your taxes to 90 percent to do it.”
–Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.)
THE FACT CHECKER | This is false, though it has increasingly emerged as a GOP talking point. Sanders, an independent from Vermont who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, has not yet released a tax plan, but has has repeatedly denied that he would increase taxes from the current marginal rate of 39.6 percent to 90 percent. (The margin rate is what you pay on each additional dollar earned.)
The United States had a marginal tax rate of 90 percent in Dwight Eisenhower administration, and then John F. Kennedy reduced it to 70 percent. But even such rates would not take 90 percent of a person’s income.
THE CONTENDERS | Ben Carson carefully navigated the tricky terrain of same sex rights question Wednesday, demonstrating development of political skills to handle an issue that has left him badly bruised in the past.
Pointing to Carson’s role on the corporate board of Costco, Carson was asked by a CNBC moderator why he would “serve on the board of a company whose policies seem to run counter to your views on homosexuality?”
The issue has been politically fraught for Carson in the past. In March, he said that homosexuality is a choice and pointed to prison as evidence. “Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight and when they come out they’re gay. So did something happen while they were in there?” Carson said on CNN at the time. His response ignited an immediate controversy.
Not so Wednesday.
“Obviously you don’t understand my views on homosexuality. I believe that our constitution protects everybody regardless of their sexual orientation or any other aspect. I also believe that marriage is between one man and one women,” he said. “There is no reason that you can’t be perfectly fair to the gay community – they shouldn’t automatically assume that because you believe that marriage is between one man and one woman that you are a homophobe.”
ON THE ISSUES | The GOP presidential candidates just exchanged a few words on Social Security, one of the issues that divides them most sharply.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and other candidates say that reducing future benefits for people who are working now is the only way to make sure that there’s enough money in the system to go around.
Christie argued for that point in the debate by claiming that Social Security’s trust fund has been emptied. The trust fund is where all of the money that workers forfeit in taxes with every paycheck they cash is kept, in order to pay out future benefits.
“It’s not there anymore. The government stole it and spent it,” Christie said. “All that’s in that trust fund is a pile of IOUs for money on they spent on something else a long time ago.”
Social Security’s finances are not in the best shape, but the money is still in the trust fund — to the tune of $2.8 trillion at the end of last year.
Marco Rubio’s attack on the mainstream media as a “the ultimate super PAC” for the Democratic Party was the fourth such critique of the media in this debate.
Earlier, Rubio went after a Florida newspaper that criticized his Senate voting record. Sen. Ted Cruz also went after media bias, and Ben Carson challenged CNBC’s questions, which drew boos from the crowd, about his involvement with a company called Mannatech.
Each attack seemed to be popular, drawing applause from the audience.
“My record was one of cutting taxes each and every year. You don’t have to guess about it, because I already have a record [cutting] $19 billion in taxes, 1.3 million jobs created.”
–Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush
THE FACT CHECKER | Bush repeatedly claims $19 billion in taxes over his eight years as governor, but that is quite misleading. This refers to cumulative state revenue changes as a result of state and federal decisions, and it includes revenue changes from tax and non-tax legislative actions during his tenure as governor.
Moreover, this $19 billion figure includes revenues the state would have received if the federal estate tax credit had not been phased out. There were some states that levied new state taxes to balance out the phase-out of the federal estate tax. Bush didn’t fight the estate tax repeal. But that’s certainly not the same as actively “cutting” those tax revenues from the state budget.
Bush’s 1.3 million jobs number is accurate, as far as it goes, and he avoided claiming that he “led the nation” in job creation. But, as we repeatedly warn, readers should be wary when state executives take credit for the number of jobs in their state. There’s not one policy decision that affects jobs figures.
SOCIAL STUDIES | This map shows Twitter declaring its winner in the dustup between Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio over missed Senate votes, based on mentions. The GIF is via our analytics partners at Zignal Labs: