October 29, 2015

"Are you a comic-book version of a moderator?"

From my son John's live-blog of last night's debate:
8:26 — Moderator John Harwood lists what he apparently considers to be some of Trump's more ridiculous proposals, including that he'd "make Americans better off because your greatness would replace the stupidity and incompetence of others." Trump agrees with that last point: "Right!" Then Harwood asks if this is "a comic-book version of a presidential campaign." Trump says: "It's not a comic book, and it's not a very nicely asked question." [VIDEO.]...

9:39 — Rubio is asked about an analysis by the (conservative) Tax Foundation, which said his tax plan saves twice as much for people at the high end than the low end. Rubio denies it and says the opposite. [Added later:] On Twitter, Harwood had said he was "CORRECTING" his "earlier tweet" about the Tax Foundation's analysis of Rubio's tax plan. Harwood's correction said: "Tax Foundation says Rubio benefits lowest 10% proportionally more (55.9) than top 1% (27.9%)." Then Harwood asked Rubio a question that said the opposite of that correction, and when Rubio correctly pointed out that Harwood's incorrect post had to be corrected, Harwood flatly denied it! I asked Harwood on Twitter:
Are you a comic-book version of a moderator?
I took a screen shot:

ADDED: Here's the relevant material from the debate transcript:
HARWOOD: Senator Rubio, 30 seconds to you.

The Tax Foundation, which was alluded to earlier, scored your tax plan and concluded that you give nearly twice as much of a gain in after-tax income to the top 1 percent as to people in the middle of the income scale.

Since you're the champion of Americans living paycheck-to- paycheck, don't you have that backward?

RUBIO: No, that's -- you're wrong. In fact, the largest after- tax gains is for the people at the lower end of the tax spectrum under my plan. And there's a bunch of things my tax plan does to help them.

Number one, you have people in this country that...

HARWOOD: The Tax Foundation -- just to be clear, they said the...


RUBIO: ...you wrote a story on it, and you had to go back and correct it.

HARWOOD: No, I did not.

RUBIO: You did. No, you did.

UPDATE: John, taking a closer look at the transcript — the same section I have above — says — in what he calls a correction — at the original post: "This was more complicated than I thought. They were actually both right; they were just talking about different things."
Harwood said Rubio's plan would lead to "twice as much of a gain in after-tax income to the top 1 percent as to people in the middle of the income scale." Rubio responded that "the largest after-tax gains is [sic] for the people at the lower end of the tax spectrum."... [B]oth of those claims are accurate reflections of the Tax Foundation's analysis. 
John shows the graph from the Tax Foundation.
So, I regret that I originally assumed Rubio and Harwood were talking about the same thing; ideally, I should have looked at the transcript, noticed what [HuffPo's Jon] Cohn calls Rubio's "sleight of hand" in shifting the discussion further down the income scale, and looked up the Tax Foundation's analysis to see that they were both apparently right about different things.


Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Harwood is a hack. Of course he's going to lie. He's part of the Democrat Media Industrial Complex. Radical leftists lie about everything in order to push their Stalinist bullcrap.

MathMom said...

Great response.

MayBee said...

Good tweet, JAC.

Harwood tweeted this morning:
John HarwoodVerified account
moderating GOP debate in 2015 enriched my understanding of challenges @SpeakerBoehner has faced and @RepPaulRyan will face

Michael K said...

I think CNBC hurt themselves badly last night. Why would any businessperson watch knowing their hostility to free enterprise ?

Matt Sablan said...

I only maybe 20% paid attention once I knew who was moderating. I knew nothing was to be gained from the debate given that. It sounds like I was right to skip it and read the information later.

Writ Small said...

Harwood is the Jeb Bush of attack journalists.

Larry J said...

Any time moderators make themselves a major part of the story, they has failed at their job.

grimson said...

Harwood's question was comparing top 1% and middle, but Rubio's response (and Harwood's earlier tweet correction) was comparing the top 1% and bottom. I suspect Harwood's question was either misstated, or intentionally twisted to work in how Rubio would hurt the middle class for whom Hillary has said she will work so hard. Either way, he should be fired for either incompetence or flagrant lying.

The exchange also exemplifies what was wrong with this debate. Instead of letting Rubio briefly detail his tax plan, which is what Republican primary voters would be interested in, he interrupted to press his invalid point.

(I have found John's liveblog the best way to find out about the debates without having to suffer through watching them.)

Matt Sablan said...

I think, if CNBC is going to ever get anything from the RNC again, it needs to be served up with his job. He needs to be fired for that. That's not an honest mistake. That's either the same mistake twice -- which is usually a firing offense -- or deliberate, also worth being fired over.

As long as Harwood works at a place, the RNC and all members of the party should boycott it. Any place employing him is OK with willfully lying about Republicans, and has made it publicly known. He needs to go find a new career that doesn't involve critical thinking.

Michael K said...

"Any place employing him is OK with willfully lying about Republicans,"

This is also true of ABC which employs Stephanopolis who interrupted the GOP debate in 2012 with a question about contraception which was not and never was an issue. It was just a dog whistle for Democrats who think Republicans want them all barefoot and pregnant,

Bob Boyd said...

Tip for John Harwood: Next time you quote yourself, consider the source.

Kansas City said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Althouse Cohen said...

My post was wrong, and I've added a correction at "9:39." Grimson and Kansas City are right.

Kansas City said...

Grimson is correct above. Harwood is a liberal hack, but I'm sure he had come up with an angle that he thought was accurate in his effort to get Rubio. In his earlier tweet attack, he made a mistake and had to correct it. For the debate, he came up with another line of attack, using an undefined "middle class" instead of the earlier lower class. He was too incompetent to clearly ask the question, so now everyone is jumping on him for lying, when his real crime is a relentlessly biased journalist pretending to be objective.

I think in the liberal mainstream media bubble, it is perfectly acceptable and expected that Harwood would scheme to come up with a way to undercut a conservative such as Rubio. He would not think he was doing anything wrong. Nor would his liberal colleagues.

The height of this strange and biased world is the film Truth, where once prominent media persons Rather and Maples, AFTER BEING CAUGHT ENGAGED IN DISHONESTY, still maintain their passion is truth. It is not a mental illness, but something akin to it. Someone like Harwood who schemes to get conservatives, would never consider framing questions, for example, that would challenge Clinton on abortion.

By the way, it was amazing that Jeb went forward with an obviously pre-planned attack on Rubio's voting/attendance record right after Rubio had swatted away the question on the same issue from the mediator. Jeb was so tied to his planned attack that he did not have the sense to pay attention to what was going on and come up with something different. Jeb is dead as a candidate. He might have some abilities that would make him a capable president, but debates and campaigning in 2015 are not among them. I think the 1990's demanded less of politicians as campaigners.

Bill said...

According to Wikipedia, Harwood appeared in a campaign commercial for Bobby Kennedy when he was 11. The Democratic Party is mother's milk to him.

Kansas City said...

Mr. Cohen's correction was so straightforward that I did a double take. If only guys like Harwood were so forthcoming.

walter said...

Trump cartoon here

Birches said...


It doesn't matter if you had to correct yourself, John. That response is why twitter was invented.

averagejoe said...

Go Jaltcoh! Go Jaltcoh!