8 Antagonistic Questions 2015 Debate Moderators Asked Republicans that Prompted Ted Cruz to Blast Media

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | June 24, 2019 | 4:13 PM EDT

Sen. Ted Cruz (Screenshot)

When NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo host the first Democratic presidential primary debates this Wednesday and Thursday, will the questions be as antagonistic as those that enraged Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in 2015 when sister network CNBC hosted a Republican primary debate?

“The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media,” candidate Cruz said, rebuking the moderators after they repeatedly insulted and baited the Republican participants.

During the debate, moderators accused candidates of running “a comic book version of a presidential campaign, lacking “moral authority,” and having as much hope of succeeding as of flying away “by flapping your arms.”

Below are eight of the most antagonistic questions asked, and a video compilation of moderator lowlights, compiled by the Media Research Center’s NewsBusters division in an article proposing 10 analogous questions moderators could ask Democrats during this week’s debates:

  1. CNBC White House Correspondent John Harwood to Donald Trump:

“Mr. Trump, you’ve done very well in this campaign so far by promising to....make Americans better off because your greatness would replace the stupidity and incompetence of others....Let’s be honest. Is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?”

  1. Harwood to Trump:

“I talked to economic advisers who have served presidents of both parties. They said that you have as much chance of cutting taxes that much without increasing the deficit as you would of flying away from that podium by flapping your arms?”

  1. CNBC Anchor Carl Quintanilla to Sen. Marco Rubio:

“This one is for Senator Rubio. You’ve been a young man in a hurry ever since you won your first election in your 20s....You’re skipping more votes than any senator to run for president. Why not slow down, get a few more things done first or at least finish what you start?”

  1. CNBC Anchor Becky Quick to Trump:

“Mr. Trump, let’s talk a little bit about bankruptcies. Your Atlantic City casinos filed for bankruptcy four times. In fact, Fitch, the ratings agency, even said that they were serial filers for all of this....The bondholders, some of the contractors who worked for you, didn’t fare so well. Bankruptcy is a broken promise. Why should the voters believe the promises that you’re telling them right now?”

  1. Quick to Dr. Ben Carson:

“Let’s talk about taxes. You have a flat tax plan of 10 percent flat taxes, and – I’ve looked at it – and this is something that is very appealing to a lot of voters, but I’ve had a really tough time trying to make the math work on this. If you were to took a 10 percent tax, with the numbers right now in total personal income, you’re gonna come in with bring in $1.5 trillion. That is less than half of what we bring in right now. And by the way, it’s gonna leave us in a $2 trillion hole. So what analysis got you to the point where you think this will work?”

  1. Quick to Rubio:

“Senator Rubio, you yourself have said that you’ve had issues. You have a lack of bookkeeping skills. You accidentally inter-mingled campaign money with your personal money. You faced foreclosure on a second home that you bought....In terms of all of that, it raises the question whether you have the maturity and wisdom to lead this $17 trillion economy?”

  1. Quintanilla to Sen. Lindsey Graham:

“Senator Graham, you have said you believe that climate change is real. You’ve said you accept tax increases as part of a budget deal with Democrats. You’ve co-sponsored a Senate immigration bill providing a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally. Are you in the wrong party’s debate?”

  1. Harwood to Mike Huckabee:

“The leading Republican candidate – when you look at the average national polls right now – is Donald Trump. When you look at him, do you see someone him with the moral authority to unite the country?”


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