- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 28, 2015

BOULDER, Colorado—Conservatives are lambasting the choice of CNBC’s John Harwood as a moderator for Wednesday’s GOP presidential primary debate, calling him too biased to preside fairly over the Republican showdown.

The Media Research Center cited a Tuesday exchange between Mr. Harwood and MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell, in which she recounted his role in turning up the heat on Republican Rick Perry in a 2011 primary debate as he struggled to remember the third federal agency he would cut if elected.

“John, what are you doing when you’re not ending people’s presidential candidate’s race? I mean, that was a memorable moment,” said Ms. Mitchell with a laugh.

Replied Mr. Harwood, “Yeah, that was a lot of fun.”

The MRC also listed Mr. Harwood’s “most biased moments,” including his description of Republican Marco Rubio as a “schoolboy” compared to Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, while the Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway pointed to Mr. Harwood’s “predictable but conventional liberal takes” on Twitter and in his columns for the New York Times.



“The RNC [Republican National Committee] may regret its approval of John Harwood as lead moderator for Wednesday night’s GOP presidential debate on CNBC if past history is any guide,” said the MRC’s Geoffrey Dickens.

Mr. Harwood, CNBC’s chief Washington correspondent, is one of three moderators for the third Republican debate, along with CNBC anchors Carl Quintanilla and Becky Quick, at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Coors Events Center.

A CNBC spokesperson defended the selection of Mr. Harwood in a Wednesday email to the Washington Times.

“Our goal is to have the most substantive debate possible and when it comes to the intersection of Washington, D.C., politics and Wall Street, John Harwood has in-depth knowledge and extraordinary skills,” said the spokesperson.

RNC chair Reince Priebus drew cheers from the right earlier this year by moving to partner with more conservative and neutral media outlets after criticism over liberal bias in debates during the 2012 presidential election cycle.

“So permit me to ask the obvious questions: Why in the world is liberal journalist John Harwood moderating Wednesday’s Republican debate? And where the heck is his conservative media partner?” asked Ms. Hemingway.

There is one conservative favorite involved in the debate, albeit in a lesser role. According to CNBC, the three moderators “will be joined during the debate by four other CNBC analysts,” including on-air editor Rick Santelli, who has been credited with inspiring the Tea Party movement with his 2009 criticism of the federal law allowing high-risk mortgages.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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