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October 29, 2015

Fox News' Megyn Kelly has plenty of good reasons for wanting to see Donald Trump held accountable for his words — the real estate mogul famously accused her of having "blood coming out of her wherever" when she pushed him on questions of misogyny during the first GOP debate in August. Perhaps that's part of why Kelly was so upset to see one of CNBC's moderators, Becky Quick, let Trump off so lightly on Wednesday night.

The problems started when Quick pressed Trump on immigration, asking about his comments concerning Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is pro-immigrant workers. Trump shut Quick down, denying he had ever said anything of the sort.

"Where did I come up with this?" Quick asked him.

Trump brushed her off again, saying, "You people write this stuff." Quick apologized to him and moved on, although reporters noted that Quick was actually right — Trump's own website says, "Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities."

Kelly took to Twitter to shoot down Quick for not sticking to her guns:

Later, when Quick finally dug up her source material and returned to call out Trump's dodge, Kelly punned that it was too little too late:

While it's proven hard to stand up against Trump, it's difficult to blame Kelly for being frustrated. Jeva Lange

October 29, 2015
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You know it's bad when Chris Christie can look someone in the eye and say, "Even in New Jersey what you're doing is called rude." However, that's exactly what he did at one point during the highly criticized CNBC Republican debate on Wednesday, addressing not a political opponent on stage but the moderators themselves.

In fact, while there were surely plenty of elbows thrown between candidates, no attack was so vicious — or resonated so deeply — as Ted Cruz's takedown of the moderators and, more generally, the media as a whole. According to a "live dial" test pollster Frank Luntz has been using at debates since 1996 to measure "human emotion and feeling," Cruz's tirade reached the highest score among viewers ever recorded, peaking at a 97/98 out of 100.

"One hundred means that every person in the group would have had their dials to 100. So this score means that 24 of the 26 [participants] had their dials as high as they would go…[Cruz] said what every conservative has been thinking…They really hate these moderators," Luntz told Politico's Mike Allen. Luntz also emphasized to CNN that 98 is "the highest score we've ever measured. EVER."

Before Wednesday night, the highest dial test scores were held by Mike Huckabee in 2008 and Herman Cain in 2012. Overall, Luntz told Politico that "Cruz won the first half. Christie the second half, and Rubio did well throughout."

Watch Cruz crush the moderators here. Jeva Lange

October 29, 2015
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Jeb Bush's losing streak continued last night. The former Florida governor was likely hoping for a revival from the third Republican presidential debate after slipping in the polls and downsizing his headquarters; instead, he got the short end of the stick on speaking time.

Per NPR's tally, Bush spoke less than any of the other 10 candidates last night, clocking only 4 minutes and 56 seconds. Marco Rubio, Bush's former protégé and perhaps his biggest competitor, nearly doubled Bush's time and even outtalked Donald Trump with 8 minutes and 44 seconds of air time. Even candidates like Chris Christie, John Kasich, Rand Paul, and Mike Huckabee — who have consistently polled behind Bush — got more time to speak:

Bush's campaign manager Danny Diaz reportedly confronted CNBC about the discrepancy, resulting in an "argument" that "centered around how much time the candidates were permitted to speak," Mediaite reports. "I expressed my displeasure about the way the debate was managed and the amount of time [we got]," Diaz reportedly said. Becca Stanek

October 28, 2015

Responding to a question about Donald Trump that elicited hisses from the CNBC Republican debate audience, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said he is a big supporter of the billionaire, and was even sporting a Trump tie.

Huckabee was asked by a moderator if when he looks at Trump he sees "someone with the moral authority to unite the country." After first saying his last question was about Trump and he didn't really want to give him any additional screen time, Huckabee said: "I love Donald Trump. He's a good man. I'm wearing a Trump tie tonight. Get over that one." A few of his fellow candidates asked if the tie was made in "China or Mexico," and Trump denounced the question as being "nasty."

Instead of attacking Trump, Huckabee went after Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. "Let me tell you," he said. "Donald Trump would be a better president every day of the week and twice on Sunday rather than Hillary. I've spent a lifetime in politics fighting the Clinton machine. I want to talk about what we're going to be up against this year."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie then inserted himself into the discussion, saying that this week, "the FBI director has said because of a lack of support from politicians like the president of the United States, police officers are afraid to get out of their cars, afraid to enforce the law. He says...that crime is going up because of this." Christie said President Obama isn't standing up for law enforcement, even though the "number one job of the president of the United States is to protect the safety and security of the American people. ... When I'm in the Oval Office, police officers will know they have the support of the president of the United States. That's real moral authority you need in the Oval Office." Catherine Garcia

October 28, 2015

Ohio Gov. John Kasich had harsh words for Republican frontrunners Donald Trump and Ben Carson during CNBC's GOP presidential debate, calling their ideas "fantasy" and saying the country cannot elect somebody who "doesn't know how to do the job."

Kasich said he was the only person on stage involved in balancing the federal budget, and the "empty promises" of some candidates would leave the U.S. "trillions and trillions" of dollars in debt. "I have a plan that would create jobs, cut taxes, balance the budget, and get it done because I'm a realist," he said. "Why don't we just give a chicken in every pot while coming up with these fantasy tax games?" Kasich added that when he became governor, Ohio was in an "$8 billion hole, and now we have a $2 billion surplus, we're up 347,000 jobs."

When pressed by a moderator to say whose proposals he thought were "just crazy," Kasich didn't name names, but instead said: "To talk about having a 10 percent tithe, that's how we're going to fund the government? ... We're just gonna be 'great,' or we're just going to ship 10 million Americans, or people, out of the country, leaving their children here and dividing families? Folks, we have to wake up. We can't elect somebody who doesn't know how to do the job."

Trump quickly pounced, saying that Kasich "got lucky with a thing called fracking. He hit oil, that's why Ohio is doing well." He also said Kasich was a managing general partner at Lehman Brothers "when it went down the tubes and almost took everyone of us with it," and got in a dig about Kasich's popularity. "He said, 'Oh I'm such a nice guy, oh I'm never going to attack,' then his poll numbers tanked," Trump said. "That's why he's on the end, and he got nasty. You know what? You can have him." Kasich quickly responded by saying he was actually a banker, and proud of it. Catherine Garcia

October 28, 2015
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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), former New York Gov. George Pataki, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal faced off Wednesday evening during the CNBC Republican debate for low-polling candidates.

Graham said that under President Obama, "we're being walked all over because our commander-in-chief is weak in the eyes of our enemies," and he would tell his foes abroad to pick between his "clenched fist and an open hand." Pataki declared that he cut taxes more than anyone else on stage, and would get rid of loopholes that cost Americans "$1.4 trillion a year." Jindal said he is against the government mandating paid maternity leave, and thinks the country is on the "path toward socialism." Santorum announced multiple times that he believes families in the United States need to be strengthened, and wants Americans to receive better vocational training.

Graham also had some zingers for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and Pataki warned that the GOP must stop questioning "science that everyone accepts." Catherine Garcia

October 28, 2015
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When asked about climate change during CNBC's undercard Republican presidential debate, former New York Gov. George Pataki was adamant about one thing: It's real and it's happening right now.

"One of the things that troubles me about the Republican Party is too often we question science that everyone accepts," he said. "I mean, it's ridiculous that in the 21st century, we're questioning whether or not vaccines are the appropriate way to go; of course they are. It's also not appropriate to think that human activity, putting CO2 into the atmosphere, doesn't make the Earth warmer. All things being equal, it does. It's uncontroverted."

Pataki went on to say he believes "part of the problem is Republicans think about climate change, and say 'Oh my God, I'm gonna have higher taxes, more Obama, more big government, the EPA shutting down factories.' That's not the solution that I see. I want Republicans to embrace innovation and technology. There's one country in the world that has fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the rest of the world, you know what that is? The United States. Our emissions are lower than they were in 1995, not because of government programs but because of fracking, private sector creation." He also wants to see "far more clean energy," "next generation nuclear," and "solar panels on every home four times more efficient than they are today," with the government incentivizing "innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit in America." Catherine Garcia