Update 7:00 p.m. PT
Donald Trump just can’t help himself, so he went after CNBC for a second time in under two hours, this time setting his ire on co-moderator Becky Quick.
The real estate mogul took Quick to task for what he claimed was the anchor making up a statement he made critical of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wanting more H-1B visas accessible for technology companies to hire foreign workers.
When the moderator asked him where she got that information, Trump delivered one of the money sound bites of the night: “I don’t know, you people write this stuff.”
Update 6:40 p.m. PT
Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush had a fiery exchange over the former’s dubious voting record, or lack thereof.
“You should be showing up to work…When you signed up for this, this was a six-year term,” Bush told Rubio. “The Senate, what is it like a French work week? You get, like, three days where you have to show up? Bush continued, finishing that Rubio is “ripping us off.”
Rubio didn’t back down from the politician who mentored him in Florida, arguing Bush said he was modeling his campaign after Senator John McCain, and the former Republican nominee himself missed a ton of votes when he ran for president.
“I don’t remember you ever complaining about John McCain’s vote record,” Rubio said, concluding the only reason Bush was railing against him was because somebody “has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you.”
Update 6:03 p.m. PT
Texas Senator Ted Cruz went a little wild on the media, using his time to answer a question on U.S. debt to blast the liberal media.
The third GOP debate kicked off with a bang in Colorado on Wednesday as Donald Trump picked a fight with CNBC in response to the first question he received.
Co-moderator John Harwood asked the real estate mogul if he was running a “comic book” campaign. “That’s not a very nice question,” Trump answered, going on to recite his talking points before Harwood tried to cut his answer short.
Ohio Governor John Kasich came out of the gate angry, saying enough was enough with candidates like Trump who make unrealistic policy promises and cheapen the debate.
Trump shot back that Kasich was on the board of Lehman Brothers when the company took the economy down in 2008; Trump finished his slight against Kasich by knocking his poll numbers and position on stage.
Carl Quintanilla opened the debate by asking the panelists what their biggest weaknesses were. Amazingly, Trump acknowledged having one–he trusts too much. Ted Cruz joked his biggest shortcoming is being too agreeable, getting laughs from the crowd.
This debate in particular is crucial for several candidates, with Jeb Bush leading the pack. The former Florida Governor and brother of President George W. Bush was expected to be the GOP frontrunner before political outsiders Donald Trump and Ben Carson entered the race, but has fallen to single digits in national polls.
Bush’s donors are reportedly ready to close their wallets if Bush doesn’t have a breakout debate or at least some signature moments that show he’s fighting for the nomination.
To a smaller extent, Donald Trump has a lot riding on this debate in particular. He’s fallen out of first place in some national polls and Iowa polls behind Dr. Ben Carson, so a poor performance could cause him to slide further.
But Trump may have the advantage, as the core subject on the debate stage will be the economy–which should be the Donald’s wheelhouse as a billionaire businessman.
Other candidates who need to deliver a good showing include New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Ohio Governor John Kasich, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Florida Senator Rand Paul.