Republican 2016 candidates are railing against the media as untrustworthy and an arm of the Democrats during Wednesday’s CNBC GOP presidential debate.

Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), and Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) led the charge, pushing back against the moderators and lobbing bombs at the media.

“Democrats have the ultimate super-PAC, it’s called the mainstream media,” Rubio said to cheers from the audience as he referenced coverage of Hillary Clinton’s testimony to the House Benghazi Committee last week.

{mosads}He said the foremr secretary of State had sent an email after the attacks telling her family that the attack was caused by al Qaeda-like elements, even as she and the administration had mentioned an anti-Islamic video as a cause.

“She spent over a week telling the families of those victims and the American people that it was because of a video and yet the mainstream media is going around saying it is the greatest week in Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” Rubio said.

“It was the week she got exposed as a liar.”

During that hearing, Clinton said that while the intelligence later proved the attack was coordinated by terrorists, she believes that the video and the protests it sparked across the Middle East “played a role.”

Cruz had an applause line of his own when he blasted the moderators’ questions during the first half-hour of the debate.

“The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media. This is not a cage match,” The Texas senator said when CNBC moderator Carl Quintanilla asked him about his stance on a major budget compromise making its way through Congress.

“You look at the questions: Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson, can you do math? John Kaisch, can you insult those two people over here? Marco Rubio, will you resign? Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen? How about talking about the substantive issues people care about?”

Trump predicted his own distaste for the moderators before the debate even started with a tweet Wednesday morning that said that he’s “looking forward to what I am sure will be a very unfair debate.”

The party front-runner for the nomination mixed it up with CNBC moderator John Harwood when he asked whether Trump’s campaign promises amount to a “comic book version of a campaign.”

“It’s not a comic book and it’s not a very nice leading question,” Trump responded.

Rubio also took on the local media, specifically the Sun Sentinal, the Florida paper that called for his resignation over missing votes in the Senate as he campaigns. He accused the paper of playing politics, noting that they endorsed then-Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) for president in 2008 and 2004, respectively, without mentioning their missed votes.  

“It’s evidence of the bias that exists in the American media today,” Rubio said.

Many of the lower-polling candidates, including former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ark.) and Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), also swatted down the moderators when told their time was up, noting that many of the other candidates had been allowed to go over.

And Gov. Chris Christie (N.J.), known for his own brash personality, took issue with interruptions by moderators when he was answering a question on daily fantasy football.

“Do you want me to answer or do you want to answer?” he asked Harwood to cheers.

“I’ve got to tell you the truth, even in New Jersey what you are doing is called rude.”

Tags Barack Obama Donald Trump Hillary Clinton John Kerry Marco Rubio Rand Paul Ted Cruz

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