Last time, the moderators from CNBC made themselves the story. They succeeded in uniting the GOP field against them. It was a good night for those who were quick on their feet, those who excel at the debate format. For those who wanted an opportunity to get their message on policy out to the public, they were largely denied much of a chance. As a vehicle for getting substantive discussion out, the third debate fell way short. Tuesday the Republicans get a redo of sorts in front of a panel of FBN and Wall Street Journal questioners. Many of the questions that existed before the last debate still remain, and a few new ones present themselves.
Some of those questions to keep in mind as we watch will be:
Will John Kasich get a chance to actually explain how he can put his vast experience to work fixing the economy?
Can flat tax plans be defended to moderators who know the numbers as well as the candidates?
Will Donald Trump show patience and wait for an opponent attack him?
Will Jeb finally land a blow against Marco Rubio?
How will Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee who have been in the prime time debates up until now, fare against unfamiliar opponents during the 7:00 PM debate?
Will Carly Fiorina be able to improve upon past strong debate performances?
Will Bobby Jindal do better against stronger opponents?
How will Cruz and Carson do without biased moderators as foils?
Tuesday’s debate promises to be a far cry from the last one on CNBC. The moderators can be expected to ask tough, but fair questions on the nation’s finances and the economy. They won’t make themselves the centers of attention as did the previous group. With this debate, as the last one being on domestic affairs, it will serve as something of a redo for the candidates. Will they take advantage of this second chance? The prime time debate will have feature fewer candidates, allowing for more time to respond to questions. Who will that hurt and who will it help? The ‘undercard’ debate will have a different mix of characters, it could provide for a fresh start for some of the participants. As usual this election cycle, expect the unexpected– at least from the Republican field. The headlines on Wednesday morning will be anybody’s guess.