6 Things To Watch For In The Second Republican Debate

Fifteen Republicans enter Wednesday’s second Republican debate with at least one similar goal: Pull off a game-changing performance that will challenge Donald Trump’s front-runner status in the 2016 presidential race.

“I hear they’re all going after me,” Trump told his audience of 18,000-plus at a campaign rally in Dallas on Monday. “Whatever. Whatever!”

Eleven candidates will stand on the main stage Wednesday night at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., while four face off in an earlier undercard debate.

Here are six things to watch for:

2. THE 11TH PODIUM

The addition of Fiorina, the only woman in the GOP race, to the main stage could slow down any candidate on the Testosterone Express, conservative analysts said.

“Having ‘The Donald’ confront the female recipient of his recent insults on national television could be the most intriguing subplot of the second debate,” said Ford O’Connell, a Virginia-based GOP strategist who worked on the 2008 McCain/Palin presidential campaign.

“With Trump, nothing is out of bounds, but even Trump has to be slightly concerned about the optics of this potential spectacle,” O’Connell said.

Some conservative women, including the top two elected female GOP officials in first-in-the-nation Iowa, have chastised Trump for remarks they consider inappropriate or sexist – including the way he mocked Fiorina’s looks in a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine.

Read more from Jennifer Jacobs at The Des Moines Register

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Analysis & Political Strategy