October, 2015

Carson Falsely Denied Relationship with Company

Gawker: “Over the last ten years, Ben Carson has given speeches for Mannatech, a sketchy nutritional supplement company that does not, surprisingly, produce actual snake oil. He’s appeared in infomercials. He admits the company helped fund his endowed chair at Johns Hopkins. He even endorsed their product during the GOP debate Wednesday. But one thing he denies? Having ‘any kind of relationship with them.’ Huh?”

“This is… untrue. Carson, the Wall Street Journal pointed out earlier this month, has often made reference to a long and lucrative association with the company that he says has been good for both his career and his health.”

GOP Race Remains Wide Open

“The third Republican presidential debate was supposed to be one that winnowed the field. Instead, it is likely to revive several faltering candidates, while harming only one — former front-runner Jeb Bush,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“The event Wednesday night suggested that, even as the Democratic contest is narrowing, the race for the Republican nomination remains wide open, with months to go before the first states to vote — Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina — finally force some consolidation onto a field that still includes more than a dozen candidates.”

Rick Klein: “If the Republican Party has a path out of its extended Trump moment, it didn’t find it at the third GOP debate of the election cycle. Wednesday night’s debate was as chaotic as the race it was designed to help sort out. A race that features two outsiders on top saw a group of veteran politicians squabble among themselves and take on the media as a group, with little apparent clarity imposed on the race. In its broadest strokes, the debate marked an attempt by members of the party establishment to reclaim the nominating process from forces they’ve struggled to understand and adjust to. But nobody on stage seemed to connect in a way that would change the dynamics that have Donald Trump and Ben Carson leading a field of veteran elected office holders.”

Cruz’s Attack on Media Scores

Frank Luntz tells Mike Allen that Ted Cruz’s attack on the media scored 97/98 out of 100 with a live dial group Luntz was conducting in Des Moines.

Said Luntz: “I started dialing debates in 1996. That is the highest primary debate score I’ve ever registered. … 100 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. … He said what every conservative has been thinking. … They really hate these moderators.”

Ryan Rises Amid House Chaos

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) “was poised to be installed as the 62nd speaker of the House on Thursday, taking the gavel that he never sought to wield from John Boehner, who relinquished it under fire,” the New York Times reports.

“But the personal jubilance and high expectations felt by Mr. Boehner, who was elected in a sweeping Republican takeover of the House in 2011, have been replaced with a grim recognition that Mr. Ryan’s ascent stems not from electoral victory but rather the chaos in the ranks of his party’s sizable majority.”

Rubio Was Ready for Bush’s Attack

Jeb Bush attacked Marco Rubio in tonight’s debate for missing votes in the U.S. Senate but it didn’t go well.

New York Times: “Mr. Rubio, the upstart that the Bush inner circle never believed would enter the race, let alone overtake the man whose political blessing he once sought, had outmaneuvered Mr. Bush on live television, with millions watching.”

The Third GOP Presidential Debate

The third Republican presidential debate was a total, unruly mess. The CNBC moderators were mostly unprepared, asked terrible questions and lost control of the debate from the opening minutes. It was an embarrassment.

That said, dealing with stupid questions is a job requirement of the president.

The winners of the debate were Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Both senators were ready and used the format to their advantage. Rubio had plenty of opportunities to show off his political skills and regularly turned questions to his advantage. Cruz took issue with the bad questions and turned his fire against the media — always an effective strategy in a GOP debate.

The big loser was Jeb Bush. After a failed attack on Rubio’s missed votes in the U.S. Senate, he looked like a defeated man. He’s surely intelligent but he has an amazing ability to choose the wrong words. He needed a better performance to show he was worthy of his donors and didn’t deliver. To paraphrase Pulp Fiction: “Jeb’s dead, baby. Jeb’s dead.”

Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie also had a good night. Both have sharp political skills but haven’t put them to together in package that rises to the top of the field. They might start angling to be someone’s running mate.

Donald Trump and Ben Carson proved that as these debates go on, neither is comfortable dealing with the details of public policy. Carson’s response to a question about his tax policy was unintelligible, though he did come back with an effective response to a terrible question about his service on corporate boards. In a question on H1B visas, Trump proved he doesn’t even know what’s on his own website. Nonetheless, they’re both still very interesting to watch.

John Kasich tried to shine a light on the policy inconsistencies of his rivals but he’s become the Jon Huntsman of this cycle. It’s not clear the GOP electorate cares much.

Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee are just forgettable and probably shouldn’t be invited to the next debate.

Watch the Third GOP Debate

The debate is on CNBC at 8 pm ET and can be viewed online only if you’re a cable television subscriber.

Check back later for reaction to the debate.

House Passes Two-Year Budget Deal

The House “passed a two-year budget deal that would extend the government’s borrowing limit less than a week before the Treasury risks being unable to pay its bills,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The legislation now heads to the Senate, which is expected to pass it later this week or weekend, depending on whether its opponents try to drag out the process. GOP presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has indicated he will block efforts to speed up the deal’s Senate passage.”