Contact CU Independent News Editor Andrew Haubner at Andrew.Haubner@colorado.edu.
The media scrums didn’t die down even 30 minutes after the 2016 ‘Your money, your vote’ GOP debate had ended. Camera crews were still crowded around frontrunner Ben Carson, who was doing a live hit with CNBC.
It was a first, covering a debate, and stories of the media frenzy that occurred in the aptly named ‘spin room’ had only been the stuff of legend. To put it bluntly, it was a madhouse. However, that wasn’t the biggest story that came out of the Coors Events Center. It could be argued that one of the most important topics was the candidates suddenly setting their sights on the media during the debate. At one point, moderator Carl Quintanilla asked Carson a follow-up about his past association with a controversial dietary supplement company. The crowd, believing it to be a slight against their highest-polling candidate, promptly booed Quintanilla.
Some staffers believed the debate to be nearing farcical, and a story broke on Politico that a heated argument broke out between one of candidate Jeb Bush’s staffers and a CNBC producer. While it may have been dramatic, it cannot be understated that the moderators did lose control over the debate at certain points. Between candidates talking over each other and arguing with the moderators about the amount of time they were allotted, it did show through on the broadcast.
That being said, the debate did well to show which candidates had the potential to make a push for a GOP nomination. Marco Rubio was the clear winner, and how he spoke was almost reminiscent of Barack Obama during earlier election cycles. The former senator from Florida was polished, succinct, and brought up more than one anecdote that humanized him to the candidates that way that Obama did in years past. Ted Cruz was another member who will most likely benefit in the polls after calling out the moderators for what he, and many other GOP candidates, perceived to be bias and a desire to watch the debate devolve into what Cruz called a ‘cage match’.
In two short hours, an event that riled up the student body, brought international media attention to Boulder, and put on a broadcast that will most likely draw double-digit Nielsen overnight ratings, came and left the University of Colorado. What comes next is the next leg of the 2016 presidential campaign, one that will bring the GOP to Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Nov. 10 for the fourth of 12 Republican debates.
For this enterprising young reporter, he is left with the memory of what once was. The sheer grandeur of a political debate can only be rivaled by a major sporting event like a playoff game or the Super Bowl. But with the University of Colorado-Boulder being the place that it is, it will only be a matter of time until a grand old party returns to CU.