Asked tonight about the debt ceiling, Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) instead used the question as an opportunity to provide a blistering critique of CNBC’s debate moderators, earning rousing applause from the audience. Here’s the exchange:
CRUZ: The questions that have been asked so far in this debate, illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media. This is not a cage match. And if you look at the questions, Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson, can you do the math? John Kasich, can you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign? Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen? How about talking about the substantive issues —
QUINTANILLA: Does this count? Do we get credit for this one?
CRUZ: And Carl, I’m not finished yet. The contrast with the Democratic debate, where every fawning question from the media was, which of you is more handsome and wise?
CNBC: Let me say, you have 30 seconds left to answer should you choose to do so.
CRUZ: Let me be clear. The men and women on this stage have more ideas, more experience, more common sense, than every participant in the Democratic debate. That debate reflected a debate between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. Nobody watching at home believes that any of the moderators have any intention of voting in a Republican primer. The questions being asked shouldn’t be trying to get people to tear into each other, it should be what are your substantive —
CNBC: I asked you about the debt limit and got no answer.