Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus, who called the last GOP presidential primary debate, hosted by CNBC, a “crap sandwich,” was very pleased with last night’s debate, which was hosted by the Fox Business Network and The Wall Street Journal.
In a statement issued after the debate, Priebus said, “Debates need to focus on the issues, and that goal was accomplished tonight. Our candidates, not the moderators, were at the center of tonight’s debate, and they were all treated with fairness and respect.”
That was certainly the case, especially compared to the CNBC-hosted affair, which featured a series of loaded and “gotcha” questions. By contrast, the FBN moderators asked substantive questions on subjects ranging from taxes to immigration, and for the most part kept control of the debate.
There were a couple of skirmishes, but nothing like in previous debates—which can probably be attributed to the extra 30 seconds each candidate was given to speak and the knowledge that FBN was planning on trying to equalize the airtime each one would receive.
Most of the candidates held their own, with Marco Rubio coming out on top according to most pundits. The biggest loser was John Kasich, who was pilloried on social media for his constant interruptions, which weren’t necessary given the format.
FBN moderator Neil Cavuto summed up the evening by taking a shot at rival CNBC when he said, while pointing towards the candidates, “Business debates can be riveting, because it wasn’t about us. It’s about them.”