Tag Archives: CNN Debate

CNN Reportedly Planning Less-Confrontational Format for Democratic Debate

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper said on Sunday’s episode of Reliable Sources on CNN that he is preparing more substantive and less confrontational debate questions than the type Jake Tapper asked Republicans during the network’s GOP presidential debate.

I’m always uncomfortable with that notion of setting people up in order to kind of promote some sort of a face-off. I think these are all serious people. This is a serious debate. They want to talk about the issues. And I want to give them an opportunity to do that,” said Cooper according to The Chicago Tribune.

The level of humility and seriousness in this debate will be stark compared to what has been happening in the Republican debates, and that’s a good thing for our party,” said Democratic strategist Stephanie Cutter.

Washington Examiner notes that Jake Tapper, the moderator of CNN’s September 16 GOP presidential debate, said prior to that contest that he was “trying to craft questions that, in most cases, pit candidates against the other.

Cooper said that his decision to devise a less-confrontational format was motivated by the tone of the Sanders and Clinton campaigns. “[Bernie Sanders] is not going to go after [front-runner] Hillary Clinton by name, he’s not going to criticize her. And I see no reason that Hillary Clinton would do that with any of the candidates,” asserted Cooper.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: If GOP Debate Stage Can Fit 11, Let Third Parties In General Election Debates]

However, University of Virginia Center for Politics political analyst Geoffrey Skelley suggested that the lower-polling candidates in the debate might benefit from going on the offensive, “On the campaign trail [the Democratic candidates have] been a little reticent to overly criticize [Clinton] but they might if they realize this is their one shot. Sanders actually might benefit in that sense that if he is in a position where the three lower-tier guys are attacking Clinton.

Democratic strategist and CNN analyst Paul Begala said, “Let’s be honest: Donald Trump truly is a ratings machine. Twenty-three million people did not tune in to [the Republican debate] to see Marco Rubio. So, unless the Democrats can talk one of the Kardashians into running, don’t expect the Democrats’ ratings to approach the Republicans’.

CNN’s televised Democratic debate, the first of the season, is set to kick off on Tuesday night at 9 p.m. EST at the Wynn Las Vegas hotel and casino. The contest will feature former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), former U.S. Senator Jim Webb (D-Va.), former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, and former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee.

The contest is being co-presented by Facebook and, in addition to moderator Anderson Cooper, will feature questions by correspondent Dana Bash, anchor Don Lemon, and CNN en Espanol anchor Juan Carlos.

Democratic presidential candidate and Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig, who claims to have collected over $1 million in campaign contributions, will not be included in the debate as he failed to obtain at least 1 percent support in the specific polls outlined in CNN’s debate qualifications. However, Lessig was not included as a response in most of those polls.

If Vice President Joe Biden were to announce his candidacy today, he would qualify to participate under the debate’s criteria, meaning a last minute surprise entry by Biden could be within the realm of possibility.

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First Official Poll Shows Rand Paul Lost Debate By Landslide

CALIFORNIA, September 18, 2015 — The first official post-debate poll from Wednesday’s GOP primary showdown at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library hosted by CNN spells bad news for Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

The One America News national post-debate poll conducted by Gravis Marketing, a non-partisan research firm, showed that Paul performed worse than any other candidate in every category.

The poll sampled a random survey of 1,337 registered Republican voters across the United States. According to Gravis Marketing, the poll was conducted “regarding the performance and opinions of the Republicans that took place in the second Republican Primary debate. The poll has a margin of error of ± 3%. The total may not round to 100% because of rounding. The polls were conducted using IVR technology and weighted by gender.”

While 33 percent of those polled felt that former HP CEO Carly Fiorina won the debate, only 2 percent felt that Paul won. Meanwhile, 21 percent said front-runner Donald Trump won the night.

When asked who lost the debate, respondents overwhelmingly assigned Paul as the losing candidate with 32 percent believing he lost the night. With 17 percent, only Trump came relatively close when asked who lost.

The worst numbers for Paul were post-debate favorability ratings. After the debate, 58 percent of those polled had a less favorable opinion of Paul. Only 15 percent had a more favorable opinion. Trump and Paul were the only two candidates to have voters view them more negatively than positively or unchanged after the debate. However, only 36 percent of those polled viewed Trump less favorable, while 33 percent viewed him more favorably.

Of course, the One America News/Gravis Marketing results reflect just one poll, and pundits delivered praise for Paul as being “the only adult on the stage.”

On Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Paul spoke of his own performance with confidence: “I think I did very well at bringing my message out to the people who believe in a libertarian-conservative message. I think they’ll hear my message, I think our numbers will solidify.”

Who do you think won the debate? Vote in our online poll here.

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Paul: ‘Kids Who Had Privilege Like’ Bush Don’t Go to Jail for Pot, But Inner City Kids Do

At Wednesday’s CNN Republican presidential debate, an intense debate broke out over marijuana prohibition and medical marijuana as host Jake Tapper attempted to pit N.J. Governor Chris Christie, who said he would enforce federal pot prohibition laws against states that have legalized it, against U.S. Senator Rand Paul, who supports shifting away from harsh War on Drugs criminal penalties.

In the above-embedded video, Senator Paul can be seen beginning his response by pointing out the hypocrisy of those who themselves once used marijuana but who now support imposing criminal penalties on others who use it. “There is at least one prominent example on the stage of someone who says they smoked pot in high school, and yet the people going to — to jail for this are poor people, often African-Americans and often Hispanics, and yet the rich kids who use drugs aren’t,” said Paul.

Though Paul stopped short of naming names and suggested that all of the candidates on the stage should discuss whether they used pot in high school, Jake Tapper pressed, “Is there somebody you were specifically thinking of?

[RELATED: Poll- Who Do You Think Won The Main Stage CNN Debate?]

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush interjected, “He was talking about me… So, 40 years ago, I smoked marijuana, and I admit it. I’m sure that other people might have done it and may not want to say it in front of 25 million people. My mom’s not happy that I just did.

Bush pointed to a rising heroin epidemic in New Hampshire and said, “It is appropriate for the government to play a consistent role to be able to provide more treatment, more prevention — we’re the state that has the most drug courts across every circuit in — in — in Florida, there are drug courts to give people a second chance… That’s the best way to do this.

During the exchange, Paul pointed out the fact that Bush has specifically voted and campaigned for criminal penalties for medical marijuana. “Under the current circumstances, kids who had privilege like you do don’t go to jail, but the poor kids in our inner cities go to jail. I don’t think that’s fair. And I think we need to acknowledge it, and it is hypocritical to still want to put poor people in jail…

Though Bush responded that he did not want to “put poor people in jail,” he went on to say:

[pull_quote_center] Medical marijuana on the ballot was opened up. There was a huge loophole. It was the first step to getting to a Colorado place. And as a citizen of Florida, I voted no.[/pull_quote_center]

The debate continued as Christie doubled down on his position calling for federal enforcement of marijuana prohibition laws in states that have legalized recreational marijuana.

Carly Fiorina, who explained that she lost a child to drug addiction, said, “I agree with Senator Paul. I agree with states’ rights. But we are misleading young people when we tell them that marijuana is just like having a beer. It’s not. And the marijuana that kids are smoking today is not the same as the marijuana that Jeb Bush smoked 40 years ago.

We do need criminal justice reform. We have the highest incarceration rates in the world. Two-thirds of the people in our prisons are there for non-violent offenses, mostly drug related. It’s clearly not working,” added Fiorina.

For more election coverage, click here.

Back in September of last year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode exposing the federal government’s mixed messages on medical marijuana. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


GOP Debate: Candidates Go After Frontrunner Donald Trump

The second GOP debate of the 2016 presidential election season aired on CNN on Wednesday night, and during over three hours of debate, several of the 11 candidates took their time as an opportunity to criticize the current GOP frontrunner.

Billionaire mogul Donald Trump has made headlines since announcing that he was running for president in June, both for rising to the top spot in national polls, and for his comments along the way.

[quote_box_center]“I’ve only been a politician for about three months and obviously I’ve been pretty successful, because I’m number one in every poll,” Trump said at Wednesday’s debate.[/quote_box_center]

After several minutes of candidates bickering back and forth, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who was polling at 2 percent before the debate, jumped in and in addition to noting that the candidates were not “talking about real issues,” he threw his own jab at Trump.

[quote_box_center]“This is actually what’s wrong – this is what’s wrong with this debate. We’re not talking about real issues,” Walker said. “And Mr. Trump, we don’t need an apprentice in the White House. We have one right now.”[/quote_box_center]

[RELATED: Poll- Who Do You Think Won The Main Stage CNN Debate?]

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who was polling at 6 percent, also threw his hat in the ring when it came to the issue of gambling. After talking about his record in Florida, Bush noted that Trump was the “one guy that had some special interests” who tried to get him to change his views.

[quote_box_center]“The one guy that had some special interests that I know of that tried to get me to change my views on something – that was generous and gave me money – was Donald Trump,” Bush said. “He wanted casino gambling in Florida.”[/quote_box_center]

Trump insisted that Bush’s claim was “totally false.”

Bush then said, “You wanted it and you didn’t get it because I was opposed.”

“I would have gotten it,” Trump interjected. “I promise I would have gotten it.”

Carly Fiorina, who was polling at 4 percent compared to Trump’s 27 percent according to a poll taken before the debate, was allowed in the debates after CNN recently changed its rules.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, published on Sept. 9, when shown a picture of Fiorina, Trump’s expression reportedly “sours in schoolboy disgust as the camera bores in on Fiorina.”

“Look at that face!” Trump said. “Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?! I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”

[quote_box_center]When asked to respond to his comment, Florina said, “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.”[/quote_box_center]

While many candidates took the opportunity to criticize Trump, neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who was polling at 23 percent, right behind Trump’s 27 percent before the debate, accepted a high five in the form of a handshake.

“I voted to not go to war, okay?,” Carson said, regarding opposition to the Iraq War in 2003. In response, Trump reached out to high-five Carson. Carson turned the exchange into a handshake.

For more election coverage, click here.