Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) sparked one of the more contentious moments of Wednesday night’s GOP debate when he took issue with the way CNBC's Carl Quintanilla phrased a question on the budget deal struck by President Barack Obama and Congress.
“Congressional Republicans, Democrats and the White House are about to strike a compromise that would raise the debt limit, prevent a government shutdown and calm financial markets that fear another Washington-created crisis is on the way,” Quintanilla said. “Does your opposition to it show that you’re not the kind of problem solver American voters want?”
Cruz declined to immediately answer the question and instead addressed the questions that had been asked during the debate.
“The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media,” Cruz said. “This is not a cage match. And you look at the questions: ‘Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain?,’ ‘Ben Carson, can you do math?,’ ‘John Kasich, will you insult two people over here?,’ ‘Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign?,’ ‘Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?’”
He then added for emphasis, “How about talking about the substantive issues people care about?”
The debate audience responded to Cruz’s attack on the CNBC debate moderators with a strong round of applause.
Cruz cut off Quintanilla when he claimed his budget question was about a substantive issue, pointing out the “contrast” between how moderators treat Democrats versus Republicans during debates.
“Carl, I’m not finished yet,” he said. “The contrast of the Democratic debate, where every fawning question from the media was, ‘Which of you is more handsome and wise?’”
The Texas senator also argued that the field of GOP candidates have “more ideas, more experience, more common sense” than all of the Democratic candidates.
“And nobody watching at home believes that any of the moderators have any intention of voting in a Republican primary,” he added. “The questions that are being asked shouldn’t be trying to get people to tear into each other.”
Watch the exchange below: