Jeb Bush says he’s got staying power: ‘We’ve got the most money, the greatest …

29 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

14 million viewers for Republican presidential debate a record for CNBC.

The Republican presidential primary debate continued its run as the season’s hottest TV ratings hit, delivering an average of 14 million viewers for CNBC on Wednesday. PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – His campaign in difficult straits after disappointing showings on the stump and the debate stage, former Florida governor Jeb Bush insisted Thursday that he has the skills and the staying power to withstand a downturn. “It’s not on life support,” he said of the once-formidable campaign operation he has been forced to trim back as a cost-saving measure. “We have the most money, we have the greatest organization,” Bush told reporters following a brief campaign stop here. “We’re doing fine.” Bush spoke for fewer than five minutes to a small, polite crowd basking in an unusually warm, sunny afternoon. The audience was the lowest of the three GOP candidate showdowns so far, but still delivered the highest number ever in the 26-year history of NBCUniversal’s niche cable channel covering business and finance news cable channel, which typically averages about 343,000 viewers in prime time. Preliminary numbers show anywhere between 10 million and 13 million people watched the third GOP primary debate of the 2016 presidential election cycle, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The big ratings provide a bit of a salve in what has been a rough postmortem for CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla, Becky Quick and John Harwood, the moderators of the two-hour event at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Any viewership total within that range would easily beat Comcast-owned CMCSA 1.86% CNBC’s previous ratings record, which came four years ago when 3.1 million viewers tuned in to for a Republican primary debate featuring eventual party nominee Mitt Romney along with such candidates as Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachman, and (a forgetful) Rick Perry. There the talkers and there the doers,” Bush told the crowd. “I wish I could talk as well as some of the people on the stage, the big personalities on the stage, but I’m a doer.” He said his plan all along has been to focus on the early voting states this fall. However, while Wednesday’s debate may have represented a personal triumph for CNBC, the network’s broadcast still posted ratings that were well below those seen in the first two GOP debates of the current election cycle.

The August debate that aired on Fox News FOX -50.10% attracted a record-breaking 24 million viewers, while last month’s GOP debate on CNN brought in around 23 million viewers. Chris Christie of New Jersey said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Not only were the questions snarky and divisive and nonsubstantive, they were just biased. Herman Cain was at the top of the pools at this point in the 2012 campaign, he noted, and Hillary Rodham Clinton was nearly 30 points ahead of an unknown named Barack Obama. “We’re gonna find that out, aren’t we? In both cases, viewers’ curiosity over onetime frontrunner Donald Trump was credited with the huge television ratings, though even the first Democratic debate earlier this month pulled in more viewers than last night’s event, with more than 15 million.

CNBC is likely pretty pleased with its record night, though, especially after the network sold out all of its advertising spots around the event at roughly a $200,000 premium per 30-second spot, according to THR. And it became somewhat of a free-for-all that everybody had to jump in when you could jump in.” The moderating team’s occasional stumbles offered the candidates an opening to turn the partisan crowd against them and avoid delivering straight answers to what in most cases were tough queries. Quick had perhaps the worst moment as she asked Republican front-runner Donald Trump about his criticism of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for bringing in immigrant workers.

There is no one that has the proven record in business and in government that I have, and I’m gonna go share that with people and you’ll find out if I’m strong enough.” Bush also addressed a key moment in the debate, when Sen. Competing cable news channels, most notably Fox News, gave Republican talking heads and commentators free reign to dump on CNBC’s moderator panel during its post-debate programming. But many of the second-day analysis by political writers showed that the claims the moderators raised in their questions that the candidates disputed were factually accurate. All have a poor record of passing legislation, he said. “My reaction is that I think people, when they get elected to serve, they ought to serve,” Bush said. “That’s the simple point I’m making.” As supporters trickled in ahead of the event, music came on the sound system. NBC News executives said privately that the backlash against CNBC was not expected to effect their organization’s relationship with the Republican Party.

The first selection was “The Workingman’s Hymn,” which has this oft-repeated refrain: “I know that we can turn it around.” “He did do a good job,” despite what she said were some unfair questions, said Scott, who turned out early for Bush’s afternoon event here, sporting a Jeb! sticker. “I think he has had a hard time, maybe it’s from being tired, I don’t know, but it’s a little hard for him to show the enthusiasm he has,” she said.

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