Editor’s Note: Harwood tries to steal debate spotlight

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

For those convinced the mainstream media is biased against Republicans, John Harwood handed them plenty of supporting evidence in Wednesday night’s GOP presidential debate on the CNBC cable channel.

Harwood, one of three regular questioners for the chaotic evening – others dropped in sporadically to fire off a query – seemed almost desperate to steal the spotlight from the candidates. And he succeeded.

Nolan Finley

From his insultingly absurd opening question to Donald Trump – are you a cartoon candidate? – Harwood was combative and not shy about injecting himself into the give and take.

After wrongly characterizing an independent analysis of Marco Rubio’s tax plan, he continued to insist he was right even after the candidate delivered a convincing correction. When Trump noted that the debate was supposed to be three hours instead of two, and that it was shortened only after he and Ben Carson threatened to boycott, Harwood claimed that wasn’t true, though the negotiations were well covered.

He interrupted the candidates with manic frequency, and tried repeatedly to put words in their mouths. At one point, he cut off his fellow moderator, Becky Quick, in mid-question to fire off one of his own.

He looked every bit the partisan water carrier that the public increasingly thinks is characteristic of his profession.

Harwood owes an apology to the candidates, and also to viewers who had hoped to glean something useful from the debate.