Although Fox Business debate moderator Neil Cavuto claimed he’d keep the candidates talking about economic issues, he took a big financial time out to give Ben Carson an opportunity to defend questions about his credibility.
November 11, 2015

Although Fox Business debate moderator Neil Cavuto claimed he’d keep the candidates talking about economic issues, he took a big financial time out to give Ben Carson an opportunity to defend questions about his credibility.

According to Reuters, in a pre-debate interview, "Cavuto said he aims to keep candidates talking about economic issues such as Social Security, taxes and government spending. While some critics say the network leans conservative, Cavuto said there is no political agenda.'We are a business network,' he said. 'We really don’t focus on the red or the blue. We are just green. Money in and money out.'”

At 28 minutes into the two-hour debate, Cavuto didn't even pretend to make his question about money as he handed Carson an image-rehab opportunity on a silver platter. Cavuto cloaked his maneuver with a thin coat of confrontation:

CAVUTO: Dr. Carson, to you. You recently railed against the double standard in the media, sir, that seems obsessed with inconsistencies and potential exaggerations in your life story but look the other way when it came to then-Senator Barack Obama’s. Still, as the candidate whose brand has always been trust. Are you worried your campaign, which you’ve always said, sir, is bigger than you, is now being hurt by it?

If Cavuto really wanted to address the issue – rather than just lob a softball at Carson – he would have noted the sheer fallacy that then-Senator Barack Obama was never scrutinized as a candidate.

Carson began his answer by thanking Cavuto for not asking “what I said in the 10th grade.” That got a hearty laugh from the audience, along with Cavuto, who was shown smiling broadly. Just in case the audience thought he was really questioning Carson’s credibility. “I’ll just forget that follow up,” Cavuto quipped.

But forgetting a follow up Cavuto did.

CARSON: The fact of the matter is we should vet all candidates. I have no problem with being vetted. But I do have a problem with is being lied about. And then putting that out there as truth. And I don’t even mind that so much if they’d do it with everybody, like people on the other side. But, you know, when I look at somebody like Hillary Clinton who sits there and tells her daughter and a government official that no, this was a terrorist attack and then tells everybody else that it was a video, where I came from, they call that a lie. I think that’s very different from somebody misinterpreting when I said that I was offered a scholarship to West Point. That’s the words that they used. But I’ve had many people come and say the same thing to me. That’s what people do in those situations. We have to start treating people the same and finding out what people really think and what they’re made of. And people who know me know that I’m an honest person.

In the first place, the issue of Hillary Clinton’s characterization of the Benghazi attack has been asked and answered. At the very least, Cavuto should have pointed out that Carson’s view is not definitive. But more significantly, there are big questions about Carson’s trustworthiness when it comes to economic issues. In a recent NPR interview, Carson seemed to have absolutely no idea what the debt limit is. On Fox News Sunday, Carson couldn’t explain his own Medicare alternative.

But after Carson got his rehab moment, the discussion moved on.

Watch it above, from the November 10 Fox Business Network debate.

Crossposted at News Hounds.
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