Texas Sen. Ted Cruz found himself on the short end of speaking time during Wednesday’s presidential primary debate — and wasn’t shy about telling Fox News’ host Bill O’Reilly why:
CNN moderators driven by an interest in sparking fights between the candidates more than substantial discussions made it inevitable.
In a post-debate interview, O’Reilly asked Republican presidential contender if he thought CNN limited his time during Wednesday’s presidential primary debate because he is “a hard-right guy.”
The Fox News host noted that Cruz was eighth out of 11 candidates in speaking time during the debate.
“Do you think because you are a hard-right guy that you are being ignored by the debate people?” O’Reilly asked. “Do you think your conservative stance offends them, so they don’t want to hear from you?”
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Cruz responded by pointing to a question on climate change, saying “the moderator didn’t want me to answer that.”
Suggesting the media has become too politically correct, O’Reilly pressed.
“But what I’m trying to get at is, there’s a political correctness that surrounds the national media, and certainly CNN is part of that,” he said. “Tonight, you’re telling me that you’re getting jobbed in these debates because that political correctness doesn’t want to hear from you.”
Without naming names, Cruz said the media likes to focus on the contention between candidates.
“The media interviewers don’t like focusing on substance,” he replied. “They like the back-and-forth bickering, and I think the people who are hurting across this country aren’t interested in a bunch of school children.”
As for his speaking time, according to NPR’s Domenico Montanaro, Cruz spoke for 5:21 minutes in the opening segment — there were five segments in the three-hour debate — and ended up with a total of 10:45 minutes. So the shut-out after the first segment was worse than the overall numbers reflect.
In comparison, Marco Rubio, another “hard-right” candidate, only received 1:41 minutes in the opening segment, although he finished with 11:21 minutes overall, putting him just ahead of Cruz in sixth place.
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