It’s no surprise that the CNBC Republican debate moderators were more interested in attacking Republicans than asking insightful questions, and at one point Senator Marco Rubio had to set things straight.
While asking Rubio about his tax plan, moderator John Harwood engaged in a line of attack awfully similar to a story that he himself had to correct weeks ago.
“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% as to people in the middle of the income scale,” Harwood said. “Since you’re the champion of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, don’t you have that backward?”
“No, you’re wrong,” Rubio said. “In fact, the largest after-tax gains is for the people at the lowest end of the tax spectrum.”
“The Tax Foundation, just to be clear, they said–” Harwood interrupted.
“No, you wrote a story on it, and you had to go back and correct it,” Rubio said.
“No, I did not,” Harwood responded.
“No, you did,” Rubio said.
As it turns out, Rubio seemed to know more about Harwood’s liberal bias than the moderator was willing to admit. Only two weeks ago Harwood had issued a tweet “correcting” a CNBC report, and basically explained exactly what Rubio was trying to articulate on the debate stage.
CORRECTING earlier tweet: Tax Foundation says Rubio benefits lowest 10% proportionally more (55.9) than top 1% (27.9%). Avg for all: 17.8%.
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) October 14, 2015
Even Scott Hodge from the Tax Foundation came to Rubio’s defense during the debate.
Of course, Harwood was careful in his wording – asking Rubio about the middle class rather than the poor – making his question technically correct, according to the Tax Foundation. But the hubris of Harwood’s attack did not go unnoticed by more objective journalists.
— NewsBusters (@newsbusters) October 29, 2015
The whole exchange can be seen here.