Cruz Brings Attack On Debate Moderators To Campaign Trail

Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
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DES MOINES, Iowa — Three days after the third GOP presidential primary debate, Ted Cruz is still hitting CNBC for conducting a biased event.

Appearing at the Iowa GOP’s Growth and Opportunity forum Saturday, the Texas senator brought his criticism of how the debate was moderated to the campaign trail.

“So what did you all think of the moderators,” he asked too boos from a crowd estimated by the Iowa GOP to be around 1,500.

“How about we stop letting leftwing liberals moderate Republican debates,” Cruz declared. “Let me lay out a radical proposition: How about if we say from now on if you have never voted in a Republican primary in your life, you don’t get to moderate a Republican primary debate.”

As he did the night of the debate during an interview on Fox News, Cruz suggested having conservative talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and Sean Hannity moderate future GOP debates.

“How about instead of a bunch of attack journalists, we actually have real conservatives,” he said. “Could you imagine a debate moderated by Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin,” he added to cheers.

Cruz hit CNBC for having a debate about the economy and not bringing up important economic issues, like the effects of Obamacare.

“Let me tell you a few words that were not mentioned by the moderators at the debate. This was a debate on the economy. Here’s a word that the moderators never mentioned: Obamacare,” he said. “How do you have a debate on the economy and never mention Obamacare?”‘

“But you know what we had plenty of time to talk about fantasy football,” he scoffed, referring to a question towards the end of Wednesday’s debate.

Without mentioning them by name, Cruz argued that CNBC’s moderators — journalists Carl Quintanilla, Becky Quick and John Harwood — were essentially in league with the Democrats.

“What we wouldn’t have is a bunch of leftwing operatives whose object isn’t whether the Republican nominee is, as they want him, is battered and bruised as possible so the Democrat wins in November,” Cruz said in reference to his plan to have only those who have voted in Republican primaries moderate GOP primary debates in the future. “Instead you have moderators who are trying to help conservatives make the decision: whose going to be the best and strongest conservative to represent us and win? Who is the prudent conservative, the consistent conservative?”

In the wake of the widely criticized debate, the Republican National Committee announced Friday that it would drop CNBC’s sister network — NBC — as the sponsor of its February GOP primary debate.