Daily Fantasy Sports Front and Center at Latest GOP Debate, Christie and Bush Get Into It on CNBC Matchup

Posted on: October 29, 2015, 01:54h. 

Last updated on: October 29, 2015, 02:36h.

The controversy over daily fantasy sports (DFS) has been the topic of much debate lately, but no one likely expected it to be a topic in THE debate: the latest and third in the GOP presidential nominee exchange on October 28th.

DSF GOP debate Jeb Bush Chris Christie
DFS for the win: GOP debaters and presidential contenders Jeb Bush and Chris Christie had one of the more memorable exchanges of the third Republican debate after the issue of daily fantasy sports was brought up as a media question. (Image: Mark J. Terrill/AP)

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush provided one of the more entertaining confrontations of the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night in Colorado.

Bush is, on the record, a longtime opponent of gambling, the two-term Florida governor previously getting into a confrontation with GOP 2016 Donald Trump over the billionaire’s wishes to build casinos in the state during his governorship. Christie is polar opposite to Bush when it comes to expanding gambling, the outspoken governor of the Garden State authorizing online casinos during his tenure.

Questioning DFS

Texas Senator Ted Cruz undeniably had the best zinger of the night when he told the CNBC moderators, “The questions asked in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media.”

“Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson, can you do math? John Kasich, will you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign?” the senator said to roaring applause.

But close behind Cruz’s remarks was the back-and-forth between Christie and Bush.

Moderator Carl Quintanilla posed the question, “Governor Bush, daily fantasy sports has become a phenomenon in this country … but to play you have to assess your odds, put money at risk, wait for an outcome that’s out of your control. Isn’t that the definition of gambling?”

Bush jokingly (or perhaps unjokingly) began his answer by saying he was “seven and zero” in his fantasy league, and that Gronkowski (the New England Patriots tight end) and Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins quarterback) were performing exceptionally well for his roster.

After receiving a scattering of somewhat uncomfortable laughter, Bush got serious. “Effectively it is day trading without any regulation at all,” Bush went on to say, adding there likely needs to be regulation, but not regulation by the federal government.

Christie quickly interjected, “Wait a second, we have $19 trillion in debt. We have people out of work. We have ISIS and al Qaeda attacking us. And we’re talking about fantasy football! Can we stop?”

Christie’s snagging of the question directed to Bush and hitting it out of the park is one reason for Bush’s poor poll numbers, according to analyst Charles Krauthammer.

“The best question of the night was about fantasy football,” the longtime political pundit said. “It went to Bush … he just fumbled around.”

Questioning Moderators

The most popular target the candidates focused on during the two-and-a-half hour-with-breaks contest was that of the moderating panelists and the mainstream media in general.

Sen. Marco Rubio, largely considered the winner of the evening, called the media “Hillary Clinton’s Super PAC” for largely brushing aside her Benghazi testimony and email controversy.

Donald Trump, largely silent and calm compared to his previous debate performances, called the questions “ugly.”

“Why is it we keep having debates, where the moderators, no one in their right minds thinks any of the moderators actually will vote in a Republican primary,” Cruz asked Fox News conservative Sean Hannity afterwards.

CNBC fired back saying, “People who want to be president of the United States should be able to answer tough questions.”

“It was a good night for Cruz and Rubio; a bad night for Bush. But the biggest loser in Boulder wasn’t a candidate: it was the media,” Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby concluded. And many others concurred.