A sampling of the reaction:
(The above tweet, by the way, was shown on a ticker that CNBC had going at the bottom of their screen as the debate started. Was anybody screening those? Apparently not, judging by the below.)
Once things got going, it didn't get much better. The candidates took turns ragging on the moderators for their questions and quibbled with their premises and facts. Sometimes, we would note, this was without good reason to, as when Donald Trump said he hadn't called Marco Rubio Mark Zuckerberg's "personal senator." He had. On his Web site. And going after the mainstream media is a tried-and-true GOP applause line that most candidates employed at one point or another.
But when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) took an entire 60 seconds he had to denounce the debate moderators, he found some unlikely allies. Including the aforementioned Patton Oswalt and left-leaning comedian Bill Maher.
oh my god did i just hear Ted Cruz say something awesome that i agree with? Yes. The media is even stupider than the pols. Who's on first?— Bill Maher (@billmaher) October 29, 2015
Cruz rightly bashes CNBC for the way they are running this debate.— John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico) October 29, 2015
Even the pro-gun-control Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence -- not exactly an ally of the candidates on-stage Wednesday -- took a shot.
"The candidates and audience agreed: the moderators focused more time on divisive questions than addressing the one issue that 93 percent of Americans agree on: stopping gun violence," the group said in a statement.
Other reactions were similar:
Wow. CNBC is really blowing it tonight.— Stuart Rothenberg (@StuPolitics) October 29, 2015
CNBC debate moderator performance makes any complaints about Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier, and Jake Tapper look silly by comparison.— Esoteric Jeff (@EsotericCD) October 29, 2015
CNBC has the right idea. You can't just let candidates at a debate actually debate. Next thing you know they'll be articulating differences.— Matt Bai (@mattbai) October 29, 2015
By the end of the debate, the chatter was all about CNBC.
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
And the Republican National Committee pounced.