Republican frontrunner Donald Trump said on MSNBC's Morning Joe that Wednesday night's three-hour debate was too long, but the reality TV veteran said that he recognized that gave CNN a chance to sell more ad time into it—Trump has also talked on the campaign trail about all the money he made from The Apprentice.
"Three hours is really unacceptable. What happened is about a week ago, we got a call that they were going to make the debate almost an hour more," he said. "And you know what that is, that means the advertising is so dense and so deep and they’re getting tremendous numbers per minute and for half minute that they just added another 45 minutes to an hour to the debate."
The CNN-broadcast debate was a marathon, including an hour-and-a-half undercard debate among the four candidates out of the top 10 (actually 11 after Carly Fiorina was added to the main event) and the 8-11 primetime debate.
Trump told CNN immediately after the debate that he thought three hours was pushing it, but also said he thought the network had done a good job.
Trump told MSNBC he thought he had been treated fairly, but that it was too much about him, which might have been a bit unfair to the others. "[E]verything was about Trump," he said. "And then they go into this debate and there was split screens all over the place. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was a little bit unfair to a lot of other people, frankly. But from my standpoint, I was treated fairly."
As to the format of the debate—which started with a series of questions about Trump to other candidates, Trump said it reminded him of a wrestling match.
"They’re taking every sentence I’ve said over the last five months – that was you know tough – and put it to the other people… Vince McMahon would’ve loved it, because that was a WWE kind of a thing. Actually a couple of them [other candidates] came up and they said, ‘you know what Donald—can I hit you so that I can get a little bit more time?’ because some of these guys I felt badly—a lot of them are friends of mine and they got, they got no air time last night."
Actually, while Trump dominated the early rounds, once the policy questions started coming thick and fast, the airtime was spread around, with Trump unusually quiet for stretches.
Trump said after the debate that he was happy with both his debate performances so far. But a kinder, gentler Trump also said he had a lot of respect for a lot of people on the stage.
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