Ben Carson calls on rival campaigns to help him end ‘gotcha’ debate questions

29 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ben Carson calls on rival campaigns to help him end ‘gotcha’ debate questions.

BOULDER, Colo. The first question at CNBC’s Republican debate on Wednesday night was, “What’s your biggest weakness?” A moderator, Carl Quintanilla, described this as a “job interview” line.Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate had been promoted as a discussion of economic policy but often veered into other lanes, such as fantasy football regulation, Florida Sen. — A day after going at each other in a third presidential debate, some Republican presidential candidates spent Thursday going after the debate process itself. — Republican presidential front-runner Ben Carson told reporters Thursday that he was reaching out to every rival campaign to lobby for changes to future debate formats. “Debates are supposed to be established to help the people get to know the candidate,” Carson said at a news conference before a speech at Colorado Christian University. “What it’s turned into is — gotcha!

True: It is the kind of gimmick that sounds slyly revealing but is not; one that, at a job interview, is a good sign that you would be happier sending your résumé to a different employer. Some refused to play along, ignoring the question entirely, but two gave answers that revealed a disgust for a gladiatorial format which went far beyond the subsequent squabbling over whether the ringmasters were too brutal. “After the last debate, I was told I don’t smile enough,” said a weary-looking Carly Fiorina, before flashing her best fake grin at the camera and trying to steer the conversation towards the state of the US economy. From “gotcha” questions that were deemed too snarky or biased to the crowded nature of the debate stage, some candidates said the Republican Party should consider changes to the format in the weeks and months ahead. “The process is off track,” said Sen. The morning after its testy, fumbled debate, CNBC could well be asking itself another job-interview question: Where do you see yourself in four years?

Jeb Bush, in perhaps his most honest assessment yet of what has gone wrong with his disastrous run for the White House, said: “I am impatient and this is not an endeavour that rewards that.” Wednesday’s debate in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains may mark the end of the former Florida governor’s chances of becoming the party’s nominee next year. That’s not helpful to anybody.” Carson, who got less time at Wednesday night’s CNBC-hosted debate than candidates who were faring worse in polls, was raising the already high-decibel volume of criticism. Without any memorable zingers to counteract his plummeting poll numbers, the exclamation point in his campaign logo – Jeb! – is rapidly becoming a question mark. Fiorina, however, had been credited with becoming one of the few contenders in the 2016 “Hunger Games” to make the game-show approach work in her favour. The main event itself featured a series of lively exchanges, though the two candidates at the top of GOP polls — Donald Trump and Ben Carson — did not attack each other during the debate at the University of Colorado.

Jeb Bush called for changes that would put Social Security and Medicare on sounder ground by increasing retirement ages, decreasing benefits for higher-income retirees or changing the formula used to calculate living-cost adjustments. And it ended in the nigh-impossible spectacle of conservatives accusing the Wall Street-focused business network of swinging the ax for the liberal media. But on Wednesday, the more than usually combative exchanges rewarded two new showbiz stars: Florida senator Marco Rubio and his more conservative rival from Texas, Ted Cruz. Paul said Medicare was paying out around 2.5 times more per person than it had collected, raising an important point about demographics. “We have this enormous mismatch because we have smaller and smaller families,” he said.

Rubio has quietly mastered the technique of turning awkward questions into opportunities to deliver carefully polished vignettes about his upbringing. Bush and Christie have both made the case that Social Security will need to be reoriented towards a program that offers a more progressive payment structure. “The simple way to do it is to make sure that the wealthiest don’t receive the same benefits as the people that are lower-income,” said Mr.

Kasich attacked Carson over his Medicare plans, Trump over immigration, and both over their lack of experience in public office. “My great concern is that we are on the verge, perhaps, of picking someone who cannot do this job,” Kasich said during the session sponsored by the CNBC financial news network. But if they have a gotcha agenda, they conveniently ignore all the facts and try to influence public opinion.” But most of the questions in Lakewood focused on Carson’s own political skills, and his laconic style of debate.

The debate also featured Jeb Bush’s most public attack on Marco Rubio, a fellow Floridian who has passed him in many polls and received generally positive reviews for his debate performance. Challenged on whether he was too restrained onstage, Carson said that “the people” understood his style even as the media missed it. “When I am asked a question, you have to listen carefully for what I say,” said Carson. “If you listen to the Twitter and Facebook feeds, it was successful.” Indeed, traffic on social networks found that Carson gained more followers than any other candidate, repeating a pattern that began at the first Republican debate in August. Attacking the “mainstream media” for bias is a familiar trope of conservatives under pressure and many Democrats believe the more outlandish fiscal proposals of some candidates were long overdue more exacting scrutiny from debate moderators. Cruz’s angry response, though, succeeded in uniting the contestants against their tormentors and blunted hopes of revealing much about their economic platforms.

Christie sold the idea as a way to avoid higher payroll taxes: “If you’ve done extraordinarily well in this country, do you want them to take more out of your taxes now and think they’re going to give it back to you later? One quoted an anonymous Republican source, who claimed that Carson was so laid-back that “Hillary Clinton will eat him alive” in debates. “I would say, I could find just as many people who say his demeanor and his intellect will allow him to make Hillary look like who she is,” said Carson. A process that was intended to winnow out the unusually crowded Republican field before primary voting begins in February looks likely to keep pundits guessing to the last: chewing up and spitting out new winners and losers almost every time they take to the stage.

Another candidate, Mike Huckabee, told MSNBC that the debates have become like “a game show.” The entire process “has gotten out of control and it has become a TV show rather than a thoughtful process of selecting someone who has the temperament and judgment” to be president, Huckabee said. Carly Fiorina said she would reduce the tax code to three pages because that is “about the maximum that a single business owner or a farmer or just a couple can understand without hiring somebody.” Ohio Gov. On Wednesday, reduced time for questions seemed to leave less time for answers, with moderators hustling each contender to keep their response as brief as possible.

Their fans see them as ways of testing the ability of candidates to think on their feet and under pressure – skills that are needed in the Oval Office. Yet, traditionally, the primary debates have been only one component in the selection process, ranking alongside policy speeches, campaign stops, fundraising and the so-called “invisible” battle to secure endorsements from other political leaders.

But the record number of candidates for the Republican nomination in 2016 and a lack of clear standout winners in any of these other areas has arguably elevated the debates to centre stage. Some candidates barreled into conversations; others faded away. (Jeb Bush, a focus of pre-debate attention, ended up with less speaking time than anyone but Senator Rand Paul.) And the candidates competed to out-bash the hapless moderators and the media at large: Ted Cruz slammed the panel (by way of not answering a question about the recent Congressional budget deal) for fomenting a “cage match,” while Mr.

Rubio said that more technology companies had relied on immigration because training and education had suffered in the U.S. “The ideal scenario is to train Americans to do the work so we don’t have to rely on people from abroad,” he said. And co-moderator John Harwood (who also contributes to The New York Times) often delivered his questions as if he were a candidate whose handlers had prepped him with zingers. (To Mr. Trump: “Is this a comic-book version of a presidential campaign?”) Maybe the greatest long-term damage of the night though, was that it bolstered the specious idea that a network’s responsibility is to please the party participating in its debate.

Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, immediately deplored the debate, touching off an argument over whether there was anti-conservative bias on the panel, even though one of its members, Rick Santelli, essentially gave the Tea Party its name. And for those students who do graduate with more debt, he said, “We can seriously look at an idea of where you can do public service…and begin to pay off some of that debt through the public service that you do.”

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