Tags: Trump Administration | Donald Trump | GOP | debates | 10 candidates | trump | strategy

For First GOP Debate, 'a Trump Strategy' May Be Critical

For First GOP Debate, 'a Trump Strategy' May Be Critical
(AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 29 July 2015 07:50 PM

Donald Trump's most certain participation in the first Republican presidential debate next week in Cleveland has caused the remaining nine participants to devise, along with a plan for putting their best foot forward, what some campaign aides are describing as "a Trump strategy."

"He's very aggressive by nature and prepared to say virtually anything," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who faced as many as eight others on stage in the debates during the 2012 presidential nomination, told The Washington Post. "It's like dealing with nitroglycerin."

John Weaver, senior adviser to the campaign of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, sized up the situation this way Tuesday on Twitter:


While Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton will be the general focus of attacks, the other nine candidates will have to contend with Trump.

Since beginning his June 16 campaign, Trump has slammed such competitors as South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

He immediately garnered heavy news coverage by attacking illegal immigrants, mainstream news organizations — even the Vietnam War record of Sen. John McCain.

Bashing the Arizona senator brought longtime colleague Graham into the fray.

"There is more downside than upside for most candidates, and the first goal is to try not to self-destruct," Gingrich told the Post.

"You don't want to get in a situation where you knock yourself out," he added. "The candidates ought to figure out what their message is for the American people rather than worrying too much about the back and forth with others."

Fox News, which is co-sponsoring the debate with the Republican National Committee, is limiting the contest to the top 10 candidates, based on an average of national polls, the Post reports. Fox will air the Aug. 6 debate.

CNN has similar rules for the second debate the following month at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

The RNC has also slashed the number of official debates to nine, versus as many as 20 during the 2012 contest.

So far, the Post reports, the top eight candidates are Trump, Bush, Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, retired pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

The group is based on the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls, the Post reports.

Following are Kasich, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Perry. Those at high risk of not making the cut are Graham, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former New York Gov. George Pataki, and former Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO Carly Fiorina.

For his part, Trump told CNN on Tuesday that he was not using a debate coach. "I am what I am," he told Don Lemon.

"I have to be myself," he added. "If it is not good enough, that's OK.

"I'll go on to other things. I'll ride into the sunset and do some more buildings and create more jobs and that's OK."

Chuck Laudner, an Iowa strategist who is advising the developer, told the Post that Trump would have no special prep sessions.

"It's low key, absolutely low stress," he said. "This isn't 50 consultants locked in a war room, with a fake podium and cardboard cutouts of the other candidates, playing the game of 'Risk.'

"He’s going to get his views across and do so in a way that’s not programmed."

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Donald Trump's most certain participation in the first Republican presidential debate next week in Cleveland has caused the remaining nine participants to devise, along with a plan for putting their best foot forward, what some campaign aides are describing as "a Trump strategy."
GOP, debates, 10 candidates, trump, strategy
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2015-50-29
Wednesday, 29 July 2015 07:50 PM
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