Ahead of the second presidential primary debate tomorrow, Republican rivals are fighting with each other to seize the spotlight from Donald Trump, who is looking to find new ways to keep the attention on himself. After rallying a huge crowd in Dallas, the billionaire plans on giving an address aboard the retired battleship USS Iowa in Los Angeles tonight. When speaking to a crowd to supporters, Trump promises “I’m not going anywhere”.
Even as Rick Perry has dropped out from the presidential race, Trump’s 15 other challengers are ever more eager to knock him down. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson is currently closest to Trump in the polls; according to a NYT/CBS News poll, he’s risen 23 percent against Trump’s 27 percent, bringing the two “outsider candidates” to a near-tie. Carson’s performance on the debate field has helped to vault him from a total unknown to second place in the Republican field. However, George W. Bush’s former speechwriter Marc Thiessen has warned that support for Ben Carson remains “soft”, and he can lose his spot just as quickly as he gained it.
Whether or not Carson will tangle with Trump in the debate tomorrow remains unclear. After the two sparred after Carson questioned Trump’s faith last week, the former apologized. Yet other candidates appear eager to take on Trump. Gov. Scott Walker, whose poll numbers have slowly slidden all summer, has claimed he plans on being “aggressive”. Walker has been harping on the issue that’s brought him national political fame: rein in America’s labor unions, including eliminating the National Labor Relations Board and federal employee unions. Yet such tactics have drawn the ire of Democrats, who have dismissed his proposed policy as “desperate and disgusting”.
Gov. Chris Christie also seems like he’ll be fighting hard in the debate, claiming that he’ll offer himself up as a strong leader who “knows who they are”. All in all, eleven candidates are set to square off at the debate in Simi Valley, CA. Carly Fiorina is possibly the candidate with the most to gain, after vaulting into the main stage line-up after her stand-out performance at the undercard debate last month. After steadily rising in the polls ever since, she’s lately found herself a target of Trump’s attacks. Meanwhile, Bush is looking to recapture momentum after putting on what many have viewed an “uninspiring” debate from last time. He’s promoting a new tax plan, apparently crafted “in the spirit of Ronald Reagan”. Bush seems to be channeling the Reagan approach, having been seen this past weekend wearing a vintage 1984 Reagan/Bush campaign shirt.
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