Fox Business will moderate the next Republican debate and for many of the candidates, it will serve as an opportunity to make an impact, to have that moment, that voters will remember and more importantly support. For some Republican presidential candidates, the party’s first three primary debates have been pivotal proving grounds that have strengthened their campaigns or shaken their supporters
For Ben Carson, seemingly it won’t matter.
Carson has stayed out of much of the political rhetoric that has become commonplace in the debates, often giving way to his more vocal opponents, by design. Carson is mild-mannered, often reserved, and is really only being himself on the platform.
“The political language and the traditional prism through which we evaluate candidates essentially does not apply to Ben Carson,” said Phil Musser, a Republican strategist.
Now viewed as a front-runner for the Republican nomination, Carson faces intense scrutiny, and that scrutiny should be evident by his counterparts on the platform this evening.
“Will viewers and voters see the unflappable surgeon they have been inclined to support or will a more combative Carson emerge?” said Matt Strawn, the former chairman of the Iowa Republican Party. “If the latter, his standing may well suffer if he appears to be yet another politician trying to out-outrage the others on stage.”
Donald Trump is likely the candidate to come hard after Carson in the debate tonight. Trump has seized on the inconsistencies of Carson’s biography, repeating a long list of examples of potential exaggerations and unproven claims during recent television appearances. That includes repeating Carson’s assertion that he had a “pathological” problem with his temper.
“With what’s going on with this election, I’ve never seen anything like it. People are getting away with murder,” said Trump, betraying his first signs of exasperation at Carson’s success in the polls. “If you try and hit your mother over the head with a hammer, your poll numbers go up. I never saw anything like it!”
Also in the main debate Tuesday are Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, a pair of senators enjoying a burst of momentum following their strong performances in the last contest; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is in the midst of an attempted campaign reset; and businesswoman Carly Fiorina and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.