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Ted Cruz scored massive cheers with his attack on the Republican debate moderators

Ted Cruz has built a career decrying what he sees as a liberal establishment, whether it's the media or the "Washington cartel."

That's exactly the Cruz we saw on the debate stage today — in what may be his strongest campaign moment yet. "The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don't trust the media," Cruz said. "This is not a cage match. You look at the questions — 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? Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen? How about talking about the substantive issues?"

He added, "The contrast with the Democratic debate, where every thought and question from the media was, which of you is more handsome and wise? … The men and women on this stage have more ideas, more experience, more common sense than every participant in the Democratic debate. That debate reflected a debate between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. And nobody watching at home believes that the moderators have any intention of voting in a Republican primary. The questions that are being asked shouldn't be trying to get people to tear into each other. It should be, 'What are your substantive solutions?'"

Still, many of the debate questions actually were substantial — focusing especially on the candidates' tax plans. But when a candidate on the stage is Donald Trump, it's not surprising that the debate is going to occasionally veer into silly territory.

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