CNN is hoping for big numbers from Wednesday’s second GOP presidential debate, but so far, reaction among the media hasn’t been stellar.

Politico‘s Hadas Gold went with the bold: “CNN’s three-hour debate from hell.” She pointed out how the candidates looked ready for bed by hour three of the debate.

“A sweating Marco Rubio ran his hands through his hair, Chris Christie’s face turned red, a sagging Donald Trump grasped his lectern for support and, at times, seemed to crumple into his suit.”

 

 

The Los Angeles Times‘ Mary McNamara wrote about the political smackdown CNN orchestrated.

“The news network went “American Gladiator: Celebrity Edition,” doing everything within its power to make the event a must-watch, live-tweetable, “anything could happen” political smackdown,” she wrote. McNamara also offered a bit of a backward compliment.

 

 

“Intense is one way to describe it. So is overlong, shamelessly orchestrated and surprisingly effective. At three-plus hours (four-plus if you count the first low-poll-percentage debate), it may be the first Republican debate to qualify as a binge-watch.”

Slate‘s Justin Peters knocked moderator Jake Tapper and the debate as the “worst debate I can remember.”

“Most of the time, Tapper is a capable journalist and host, one who isn’t afraid to challenge his guests if they’re being evasive. But very little of that attitude was on display at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, and it desperately needed to be,” Peters wrote.

 

 

“The blame for this doesn’t wholly redound to Tapper and his sort-of co-moderators, radio host Hugh Hewitt and CNN’s Dana Bash, who probably should have brought books to read…and the odd ground rules by which the debate was conducted did Tapper no favors, either. “I’ll give you time to respond if you’re singled out for criticism,” Tapper promised the candidates at the outset. He fulfilled that promise, and in doing so stalled the pace of the debate, making it difficult to keep the discussion moving and keep the candidates on point.”

The debate was indeed too long for the shorter-attention span TV news viewer of 2015, but CNN also deserves some praise for the debate.

With 11 candidates on-stage and few of them actually caring much when Tapper tried to move on to the next subject, the CNN anchor was able to get in a wide variety of topics. Gun control, climate change, religious freedom and marijuana legalization made appearances at CNN’s debate as opposed to the Fox News debate.

 

 

Tapper was also flexible, allowing candidates to jump in out of order when they were particularly peeved about something another candidate said. Viewers at home might of disliked this feature, but with 11 mouths to feed, it’s only fair to let the lower-polling candidates go back for seconds.

One clear takeaway based on the simple eye test: 11 candidates on-stage is too much, both for the candidates, viewers and journalists. It would behoove CNN and other networks to figure out an outside-the-box configuration for subsequent debates than can narrow the number down to six or seven at a time.

Read original story CNN Blasted for 3 Hour ‘Debate From Hell’ At TheWrap