NBC News Debate

NBC's February Republican Debate 'Cancelled' by RNC Amid Backlash

More fallout from this week’s incendiary, CNBC-televised GOP debate: The Republican National Committee has suspended its involvement in a planned February debate hosted by NBC News and Telemundo. The move comes after the GOP presidential candidates complained about the harsh treatment they received at the hands of CNBC’s moderators.

“While debates are meant to include tough questions and contrast candidates’ visions and policies for the future of America, CNBC’s moderators engaged in a series of ‘gotcha’ questions, petty and mean-spirited in tone, and designed to embarrass our candidates,”RNC chairman Reince Priebus wrote in a letter to NBC News boss Andrew Lack.

In a statement, NBC called the decision “a disappointing development,” adding that it will “will work in good faith to resolve this matter with the Republican Party.”

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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83 Comments
  1. Shannon says:

    If the candidates can’t handle network moderators, how can we expect them to handle running this country and negotiating with foreign leaders? Not at all surprised by the whining.

    • Robby says:

      They can handle moderators, if they don’t ask these ‘gotcha’ questions.

      It’s clear that the media is openly rooting for Hillary. Like Rubio said, Hill has the ultimate PAC, the mainstream media.

      All we ask for is to ask fair questions. Nothing about fantasy football and other crap.

      • Sawyer says:

        I agree CNBC was terrible, to say Hillary has the mainstream media is not true. CNN has been terrible to her not to mention MSNBC. As for fantasy football that was Jeb’s fault he mentioned it. The debates should be on PBS they seem to be the only ones that are not trying to play I gotcha. RNC looks week by not asking for independent moderators.

        • Robby says:

          You’re kidding me? Did you see Rachel Maddow’s interview with Hillary after her hearing? All Maddow could ask is how evil the republicans were and how she played them (she didn’t).

          MSNBC should be named “DNCTV”

      • Et al. says:

        The vast majority of “media” in this county is owned by 6 major corporations who have a vested interest in the GOP’s pro-oligarchy positrons. You are either making a joke or you are just ridiculous. No educated person has fallen for that “mainstream liberal media” bs for years.

        • Stark says:

          Please continue to keep your head firmly planted in the sand, mr. ostrich

          • Marc says:

            He’s absolutely right. The media are owned by influential members of the Republican Party. They’re imploding themselves when they treat debates in this fashion. And I get to sit back and smile at the foolishness. Don’t know why there are still 10 candidates anyway. How can you have a serious debate with so many candidates?

          • NBC is owned by Comcast…. which has a notoriously conservative leaning band of leadership/board members. Do some research.

      • patty says:

        asking questions draws the debate in whatever direction the moderator wants. they don’t need moderators. have each candidate introduce their self, tell the public what they want them to know about their candidacy, then debate between them so we can observe and make decisions

      • kenmaunder says:

        You are so correct, Hillary could never handle any tough questions from people who didn’t like her.

    • Angela says:

      This. If they think the questions are “gotcha” ones, well, then, that’s why any politician worth their salt learns to prepare for that possibility and figures out a way to answer those sorts of questions when they come up, be it in interviews or in debates. Geez, I hear Republicans complaining so often about people playing the victim-what exactly should we call this? They sure seem to be playing the victim here.
      .
      And they have a hell of a lot of nerve to complain about a few “mean” moderators at a debate. So long as the party continues to keep someone like Trump around, a man who’s mocked women’s looks and still doubts Obama’s place of birth, and so long as the party as a whole continues to insinuate people are “freeloaders” or “entitled” for daring to get government aid during rough times, and considering their ridiculous obsession with trying to stop women’s ability to make choices about what to do with their bodies, I don’t think they have any room to gripe about people being mean, whether that accusation is true or not.

      • DL says:

        Very well said.

      • patty says:

        but much of the public doesn’t know those things you just mentioned and the debate could shine a light on just that if the candidates were allowed to say what they want to instead of making them all angry, stressed, and defensive from the start

    • Michelle says:

      In 2007 the Democrates cancelled their debate with fox because of a joke someone said about Obama. How soon that gets forgotten!

    • Lucifer says:

      To be fair, Hillary can’t handle being interviewed or asked questions by anyone who is not in her pocket. She has yet to be asked hard-hitting questions and not treated like a porcelain doll that could break from being confronted about all of her inconsistencies and lies. Look at her tour over the summer, she literally treated the journalists like cattle because they were not allowed out of a sanctioned and roped off square!

      • Lili says:

        If I may ask, which porcelain doll, that can’t handle being interviewed or asked questions by anyone that is not in her pocket has had to go through an 11 hour “interrogation” by a majorly hostile group and came out winner through that “non- interview”?
        I just don’t understand, why is it so hard to be objective. This is the leader of ONE COUNTRY that is supposed to be selected. Not the leader of A PARTY. If fairness and objectivity cannot be used to select the best person for the job, everybody loses. It seems to me, more and more, the presidential race is about the parties themselves and not the candidates at all.
        It is understandable that one or the other of the two party is more representative of your personal views, but if you go on for one and against the other candidate for no other reason than their affiliation to said party than you are cutting of your nose to spite your face. If you have legitimate, factual reasons to be against one candidate and for the other then lay them out in an objective manner to induce a civilized discussion about it, so that THE BEST CANDIDATE FOR THE JOB CAN BE ELECTED.
        In that spirit, here are the facts as I see them; if you want to discuss them without getting personal, without calling names or throwing mud, etc, I’ll be happy to think your arguments over and engage in a discussion with you:
        My opinions:
        – The last republican debate WAS a joke. The moderators were not objective and even if the candidates had answered the questions, I would personally have not learned anything about the respective candidate to make vote or not against it. THAT is why I think it was a waste and the candidates were right to voice their opinions on the matter.
        – Even if the debate was a joke, the candidates should have answered the questions without loosing their tempers. Why? Because the person that is going to be elected President will have to engage with the whole world. The whole world, that contains countries and governments that are open to “normal” talks as well as the ones that are “not normal” at all. I do not see how a candidate that is not capable to deal with stupid questions of idiotic and incompetent reporters is going to deal with challenging governments. And do not say flippantly “Well, we’ll blast them off”
        In mid May 2013 USA were officially in 74 different wars around the globe.
        September 2014 USA were officially involved in 134 wars around the globe.
        I did not check how many wars USA is waging right now. However I do know that waging war costs money. THE CURRENT DEBT OF THE USA IS
        $18,152,590,112,385.69
        So please, let us stop the name calling. Let us stop the partisan tag war. They are politicians. I honestly think that expecting “undickish” behavior of any politician regardless of the party is impossible. At least for me. But the voters, I do expect for the voters to behave more responsible.
        Anyway, just my opinion. Sorry it is such a long read.

        • Win says:

          Your common sense and objectivity* in assessing the strengths/weaknesses of the current political landscape have no place here! I appreciate long reads if there’s substance – thank you.

          *(as much as one can possibly be objective)

        • Luke says:

          Good comment Llil!

      • ron says:

        The bottom line is we still do not know who told the rescue troops to stand down. Three full years and we have no truth as to whether the orders came from above or below. Hillary has a thrombosed vein in her head, so she better choose a young vp.

    • patty says:

      you don’t get it

    • flash says:

      It is called fair and balanced. Starting the questions on what is a rumor and hearsay is not professional. The American people had been cheated from finding out where these Candidates stood on real issues. When you have as many as they did on stage, time is a big factor, wasting it on attacks is a real waste of that time.

  2. Steven says:

    What babies. “The moderator were being mean!”

  3. suzyku says:

    What a bunch of total wimps! The republicans can make stuff up, lie, cheat, get down and dirty nasty but they can’t take it! If they are not capable of answering and dealing with “tough” questions during a debate how in the heck can they possibly govern a country? They can’t! I wouldn’t vote for any republican let alone any of these jerks!

  4. Eric says:

    CNBC is a joke, and so is there moderators.

    That said The Profit is a pretty good show.

  5. Freddie says:

    Since the GOP feel mainstream media is evil/unfairly biased, it makes sense for them to hold their debates away from said mainstream media.To me, it makes them all sound like foolish brats who throw a tantrum when they meet any kind of resitance to their insane ideology. But then it’s not my vote they’re after. So, yeah, maybe keep the debates to the mainstream media targeting the extreme right.

    Good luck getting the electorate at large to vote for you once you’ve secured the nomination, though.

  6. Paolo says:

    Man, Republicans are sure a whiny bunch of b——.

    Of course from now on they’ll refuse to hold a debate ANYwhere that isn’t Fox “News” from now on…

  7. Win says:

    Does the RNC truly feel this is the best option? Time will tell, but it could come off as if it’s being done to seem (as many in politics all along the spectrum do) like the RNC is taking “swift, decisive action.”

  8. I can’t take any more Republican insanity. The less, the better.

  9. It’s the Telemundo bit that scares them…

  10. KHarper says:

    To all of you insulting the candidates, lets see Hillary and Bernie sit in front of Rush or Sean Hannity. Yea, I didn’t think so.
    Typical liberal hypocrites!!

    • Et al. says:

      What a bunch of pathetic babies.

    • Et al. says:

      That was not meant to be a direct reply. I don’t want anyone thinking I agree with KHarper. Yuck.

    • You actually consider Jabba the Rush, who promised to leave America if Obamacare passed, and Sean “Don’t Waterboard Me, Bro!” Inanity **actual JOURNALISTS**? They are community agitators, pure and simple.

    • LT says:

      I would welcome it! Bernie and Hillary would make those two look like Bert and Ernie.

      • Lucifer says:

        Bernie might do it, because he’s gone on FNC before. Hillary would NEVER do it. She handpicks journalists that are allowed in her speaking events, along with “average joes.” She also tells “journalists” what questions to ask so she can script her answers because most of them are already in her pocket. She’s a fake as press on nails, except they actually do their job correctly.

    • Angela says:

      Bring it. I’d love to see that showdown.
      .
      Here’s a thought: wait until someone actually responds with their thoughts to your suggestion before you make assumptions about what their answer would be and start calling them all hypocrites.

      • Lucifer says:

        I’m guessing you read KHaper’s comment incorrectly. They were suggesting that if right-wing journalists were the moderators at a presidential debate for the DNC candidates and asked any questions the candidates didn’t like and then the DNC went on to complain about it and cut all ties with right-leaning news outlets, people would likely agree. I mean, Hillary never gets asked any tough questions since she handpicks her interviewers and questions, so she’d likely not even do it, or she’d twist every question to blame republicans. Then she’d complain on twitter about “rampant sexism” at the debate or something along those lines.

        • Angela says:

          No, I think I read it right. I wouldn’t agree with them cutting ties with right-leaning journalists if they got asked questions they didn’t like, either. Even if I agreed with their take on how questions were phrased by right-leaning journalists, I’d still very much like to see them continue to engage with those people, if for no other reason than to try and correct whatever misconceptions people have about them and to properly clarify their stances.
          .
          I am a firm believer that any politician, regardless of which side of the aisle they’re on, should be prepared to interact with any media outlets possible, whether or not they agree with the politics of the media source in question. A politician might sit there afterwards and remark on how offensive the media’s questions were, sure, and they may or may not have a point, but so long as they still bother to talk to them, that’s all I care about. If you’re going to be in politics, you’re going to have to talk to people you don’t always agree with, and be asked questions by people who may not support your politics and who might ask “gotcha” questions. That’s kind of part of the job. So I wouldn’t support this sort of behavior from the Democrats if they pulled it, either.
          .
          And please don’t even try and deny that there isn’t any sexism inherent in some of the media discussion around Hilary. I remember people getting on her years ago when she dared to show some emotion during an interview, there’s people who keep asking her about things related to her husband instead of just talking to her about her own campaign, since, y’know, she’s the one running, not her husband, people have mocked her looks and debated whether or not she’s “tough” enough, etc.
          .
          And it’s not just her who gets that, either. I’m no supporter of Fiorina, nor was I a fan of Sarah Palin, but they got some nasty mockery and scrutiny from the media that none of the male candidates had to deal with, too. The way Palin dressed was discussed constantly, and there was so much talk about her looks in general instead of her actual policies, and Fiorina’s getting insulted by Trump about how she looks, and media outlets were suggesting that Biden should be “nice” to Palin in the VP debate back in 2008 because it would look like he was being “mean” to a woman otherwise… Sexism is indeed very apparent in the political world. That is a fact.

  11. Sawyer says:

    Are they not cutting off their nose to spite their face. I agree CNBC was terrible, but to cancel a debate on a network where they can speak to 100 million people is stupid. Why not ask for moderators who are well trusted at NBC. RNC is stupid go Hillary Clinton they just made you the next President of the USA. Hillary gets grilled for 11 hours on Benghazi, did not here her whine.

  12. dru mont says:

    You can always count on the GOP to be poor sports, childish victims and bloated egotists. They are embarrassing and a disgrace.

    • Lucifer says:

      Yeah, because the democrats are totally mature and never resort to playing the victim or claiming their opponents are worse than ISIS. I mean, the president of the United States calls all of his critics “haters.” Talk about embarrassing.

  13. Chris says:

    Guys, even if you’re super left, and I mean all of the way, how can you not think that MSNBC was horrible? All of their questions were obvious AND the moderators were horrible! They had no control, the didn’t have good sources. One of the moderators apologized to Donald Trump, even though she was right!!!!!

    And for the people complaining about the Republicans, none of the Democrat debates are on Fox. So who is avoiding who?

    The RNC did CNN and MSNBC a favor by giving them a ton of ratings. They don’t need those networks. They can just have another one on Fox. People who want to know about the debate will tune in and watch it, just like I turned on CNN to watch the Dems.

    • chris says:

      I would value your opinion much more if you did not keep saying msnbc when the debate was cnbc

    • Angela says:

      And for the people complaining about the Republicans, none of the Democrat debates are on Fox. So who is avoiding who?
      .
      I actually think the Democratic candidates would have no problem doing a debate on Fox News. The question is more whether Fox News would want to have them, so you’d have to ask the people at Fox that question instead. But I think Hilary and Bernie would be more than up for the challenge.

      • Me says:

        Ah, I’m sure is the DNC offered fox a debate they would take it. But the DNC is having a total of 6 yes 6 debates. And other then the CNN debate they are hiding them on Saturday nights with college football.

  14. chiguy79 says:

    If anyone really thinks the debate still won’t be held on NBC News/Telemundo, it won’t. This is all just a power play by the RNC to get less biased moderators, no different than when Trump/Carson threatened to pull out of this last debate unless their demands were met.

  15. peterwdawson says:

    Okay, the moderators were definitely out of line, but you gotta be thicker skinned. You’re running for President not promoting a movie, ‘gotcha’ questions, as low as they can be, are a thing you gotta try and be ready for.

  16. Drew says:

    This article makes them sound like whiny babies. In truth, the moderators were horrible and unprofessional. Most news outlets have agreed that it was an embarrassment for NBC.

    • The Republican National Chairman says he has to protect the candidates. I think his reaction is also an attempt to protect the American people from a totally biased press that refuses to ask Clinton anything about the contradictions in her recent testimony.

      • Drew says:

        They also don’t question Hillary’s downright strange behavior. The way she laughs at entirely inappropriate moments reminds me of people who have suffered brain damage. Which is interesting, considering that she sustained brain damage in December 2012. She is totally lying about the severity of it.

  17. CK2 says:

    So the RNC is pulling out of a debate cosponsored by Telemundo. Talk an electorally terrible idea.

  18. Babygate says:

    Most of the questions were thoughtful and relevant to the debate. The problem was the side dish of snark, their dismissive attitude and the deliberate attempts to denigrate and ridicule the candidates like literally ignoring them and turning their face from them. I mean, I don’t like Trump, but did they really have to ask him if he’s running a comic book version of a campaign? And did Hargrove have to use the ‘flying away from that podium by flapping your wings” commentary? It was beyond ridiculous. I can’t imagine them doing that to any Democratic candidate.

  19. brockcheek says:

    They didn’t need any help looking foolish from the moderators. I agree with most, if they can’t handle a debate and moderators who don’t care for them, I don’t trust them to work with foreign heads of state, the other branches of government, or even people in their own party.

  20. Chuck says:

    You could ask any of the Republican candidates what their name is and they would consider it a “gotcha question.” Boo hoo, always the victims. If you’re running for president and can’t answer a tough question from a reporter, then you have no business running a country.

  21. FascinatedByPolitics says:

    As a Canadian, I’ve watched your elections with great interest to learn the differences between the way our two countries carry out the election process.

    In Canada, our system of government is based on the UK model. Party leaders are chosen by card-carrying members of that party at their annual Convention. At election time, the leader of the party that wins the most seats in Parliament (similar to your Congress) becomes the Prime Minister thus saving us from the problems that may occur when the leader of a nation is from a different party than the majority of people in the governing body. (minority governments can occur, but I’ll leave that out of this explanation for now).

    Regarding your discussion here, Canada does not televise the debates of the candidates running for leader of their party. Any campaigning is done within the party itself only, and voted on only by card-carrying members. It’s their job to choose the candidate who best epitomizes their beliefs and values as well as who they believe is a viable candidate to win the race for Parliament and Prime Minister. There may be some news segments about what’s going on within each party, but that’s pretty much it. Once a federal election is called (most often runs for 37 days with this year being an exception at 87); then the debates begin with the leaders of each party being involved. Currently this includes anywhere from 3 to 5 in the debates Our debates have some yelling over each other, but usually not too much as most voters tend to get P.O.d at the loudest one. We want to hear about the economy, jobs, climate change, how will their government deal with the large of number of health issues coming for the large number of boomers retiring soon, …..etc…Losing his/her temper and screaming is often viewed as a shortcoming for a potential Prime Minister.

    I must say, it’s great to only have to hear speeches, debates and ads for only 37 days.

  22. Epazote says:

    Whatever. I’ve heard and researched enough to make my decision, anyway.

  23. patty says:

    i’m glad they cancelled. the debates should consist of the candidates telling the American ppl what they will do for America if elected and also the candidates “debating” with each other. they don’t even need moderators wasting every ones time. i wanted to hear what the candidates had to say. what a waste of everyones time. if any thing is a comedy it is the media trying to make a sit com out of the presidential race to get more ignorant viewers to attract more advertisers.

  24. Bobby says:

    Spoiled children who couldn’t handle tough questions. I hope NBC keeps them off their network.

  25. kenmaunder says:

    Republicans have lied to people about any issue that Obama has tried to accomplish, calling everything certian doom. Now they don’t know how to walk their way back out of the maze of lies they created.
    The way to start the healing process is to admit the party has become a racist tool for billionaires and promise to end it, step one being making it easier for everyone to vote.

  26. gordon says:

    Someone should of stopped it when they could see the question were not directed to a specific issue.