Judging from the reaction to Wednesday night's debate, CNBC has as much chance of hosting another GOP debate as George Pataki does of becoming president. The moderating was heavily criticized not just by the candidates (as Chris Christie put it, "even in New Jersey what you're doing is called rude") but by the likes of Bill Maher, who found himself in full agreement with Ted Cruz's attack on the moderators for treating the debate like a "cage match" and failing to ask substantive questions, the Washington Post reports. Soon after the debate finished, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said he was disappointed by CNBC and the moderators, who "did a disservice to their network, our candidates, and voters" by asking too many "gotcha" questions, the AP reports.
CNBC had planned to win over new viewers and show off new anchors with the debate, Politico reports, but the network itself turned out to be the target of some of the fiercest attacks. Some candidates used their closing statements for jabs at the network, including Donald Trump, who boasted that CNBC had crumbled when he threatened to boycott the debate unless it was cut to two hours. "Nobody wants to watch three and a half or three hours," he said. "They lost a lot of money, everybody said it couldn't be done. And in about two minutes, I renegotiated it to two hours, so we could get the hell out of here." Jeb Bush, who spoke little and was widely seen as the debate's biggest loser, slammed the network afterward for failing to control the debate, the Hill reports. (Read more Republican debate stories.)