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• Debate round two: Outsiders are in
• Also for your viewing pleasure
• Sounding like a candidate, Biden thumps Trump
• What? In the library?
DEBATE ROUND TWO: OUTSIDERS ARE IN
Riding the crest of voter dissatisfaction with established politicians, candidates who have held no public office are at the vortex of tonight’s Republican debate. A much trumpeted “outsiders versus insiders” contest has emerged with billionaire businessman Donald Trump taking center stage, literally and figuratively, at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California.
Having solidified his lead in state and national polls and dominated the summer campaign, Trump comes to the primetime debate with a target on his back. But as his aggressive style and resilience has shown, those who plan to attack do so at their peril. And despite party establishment concerns, his provocative positions have found resonance and have yet to result in an anticipated flame out.
Initially thought a brash billionaire unqualified for the presidency, recent polls show Trump has turned that perception around among Republicans, though it remains a concern among voters overall making him a questionable nominee. The businessman’s perceived vulnerability – a lack of policy details and weakness on foreign policy – will most likely be probed not by rivals, but by debate moderators. Even here, Trump has been effective at parrying questioners.
Trump’s polar opposite in temperament, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, arrives at the debate with polls showing him closing in a the frontrunner. But don’t expect the two to tussle. Carson didn’t fare well on that front recently and has said he’ll focus on his own candidacy. Carson looks to repeat the surge in momentum he received after the first GOP debate. If there is outsider-on-outsider dust up, it is more likely to come between Trump and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. Trump’s recent criticism of Fiorina’s looks has certainly set the stage. Faceoff aside, Fiorina sees her rise to the top tier candidate debate an opportunity to build on the momentum she generated in Cleveland.
Insiders - Look for the more established Republicans, like former Gov. Jeb Bush, and Govs. John Kasich, and Scott Walker to counter Trump by touting their experience and records in office.
Bush, who initially ignored being trolled by Trump, has been releasing extensive policy positions, including a tax cut plan he calls “Reagan-inspired.” Expect Bush to be more energized tonight as he continues a strategic shift to direct attacks on the frontrunner. Though flush with cash, Bush’s summer slide back in the pack has increased the pressure to make a mark in Simi Valley.
Walker has seen the bottom fall out of his poll ranking and his position on the debate stage move out to the wings. His campaign says the Wisconsin governor plans to “mix it up” in tonight’s debate, a tactical change from a lackluster performance in his first go round. The consensus is that Walker must deliver a strong performance to turn around his flagging campaign.
Kasich, who just made the first debate’s main stage, has gained enough profile to be concerned about bracing for an attack. With other establishment contenders sliding in the polls, the Ohio governor can no longer fly under the radar. Though Trump has taken some twitter shots at him, Kasich hasn’t risen to the bait. Kasich hopes to stay focused on keeping the mojo moving ahead.
Outside-insiders - Three first-term senators who claim to be outsiders – Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul – are looking for the kind of Tea Party support that launched their political careers and break out of the pack. While Cruz has seen some of his anti-Washington campaign backers siphoned off by Trump, he has avoided criticizing the frontrunner. Rubio and Paul however, have been highly critical of Trump. On Tuesday Paul has set the pre-debate stage saying, “I think [Trump] deserves both barrels… I want to make sure everyone in the whole country knows he’s a fake conservative.”
Rounding out the main stage - Former Arkansas Mike Huckabee, who was an outsider in his 2008 White House bid, will likely push his focus on social issues including a high-profile rally on behalf of the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will look to push his emphasis on the rising cost of entitlement spending will fuel his campaign.
A preliminary debate - Feature four lower-polling candidates: Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal and George Pataki. While they can be expected to take shots at Trump, “[f]or these four long shots, there will also be little point in confronting one another.”
[Watch Fox: Chris Stirewalt joins Megyn Kelly tonight for the post-debate wrap up on “The Kelly File” at 12 a.m. ET.]
RNC DEBATE MANDATES TAKE PLACE IN CNN DEBATE
WaPo: “Wednesday night’s GOP debates from Simi Valley, Calif…are the first that will be presented this year by a partnership of media organizations, an arrangement dictated by the Republican National Committee… the RNC required ‘a conservative element’ in the debate productions, as RNC spokeswoman Allison Moore put it, compelling the TV networks to find new dance partners…The major exception so far has been Fox News…Michael Clemente, Fox’s executive vice president of news. [said] “We fought back on that stipulation and stood our ground. As we have showed time and again, we are extremely capable of putting on a tough and fair debate.”
ALSO FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE
Republicans are ramping up for today’s faceoff with ads in all forms. Some will be seen during the debate such as the ad from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., painting him as a “real conservative.” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, uses a scorpion to describe the dangers of the Iran deal in a new ad, which will be seen during tonight’s debate as well as on Fox News’ post-debate coverage, focusing on the Iran deal. Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s new web video will not air during the debate, but emphasizes his relationship with Ronald Reagan at the 1976 convention as Republicans take to the stage at the former president’s library.
Meanwhile, Jeb Bush’s PAC Right to Rise turns their focus to the early states and Donald Trump with $24 million of ads set to air in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. The PAC also released an online spot hitting Trump for being in “a dark place” while posing Bush as the “bright” candidate. Gov. Bobby Jindal also took a knock at Trump on Instagram with video cartoon spoof of Trump’s address on the USS Iowa Tuesday.
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
Apple’s recently unveiled slew of upcoming iPhones included many new features, but most noticeably a new color. Well, not exactly new. Rose gold, a pinkish hue of traditional gold formed when copper and nickel are added, has been a dominate color in jewelry for quite some time. But its popularity has recently spiked. The New Yorker gives an analysis of rose gold and why it seems to have found a new audience: “Deliberately adulterated, it is gold that has an inclination to be something else. Rose gold is perverse. Unlike yellow gold—but like its cooler cousin, white gold, which is an alloy with nickel or manganese that has also risen and declined in popularity throughout the years—rose gold is subject to the vagaries of fashion. The desire it stimulates is inherently temporary. In rose gold, a substance of enduring value is transformed into a consumer item with the half-life of all things modish. Rose gold is decadent. It is gold for people who already have enough gold gold.”
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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 45.9 percent//Disapprove – 50.3 percent
Directions of Country: Right Direction – 28.6 percent//Wrong Track – 62.4 percent
SOUNDING LIKE A CANDIDATE, BIDEN THUMPS TRUMP
The Hill: “During a Hispanic Heritage Month reception at the Naval Observatory, Biden called out Trump by name for spreading a ‘sick message’ that has led to a rise of ‘xenophobia’ within the GOP. Biden, who is considering a run for president in 2016 himself, urged the audience to stand strong against Trump.”
Take that Bernie - Daily Caller: “Hillary Clinton lackey David Brock refused to apologize to Bernie Sanders on Tuesday for an email his super PAC sent out comparing the Vermont senator to radical British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and deceased Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. In an interview with Bloomberg, Brock characterized the email, which his super PAC Correct the Record sent out on Monday, as ‘standard opposition research.’ The email marks the first direct shot across the bow between Clinton and Sanders…”
Sanders doesn’t seem to be too understanding - WSJ: “In an email to his supporters Tuesday, Mr. Sanders wrote that ‘one of Hillary Clinton’s most prominent Super PACs attacked our campaign pretty viciously.’”
Poll: Hillary still lead Sanders nationally, but he’s catching up - CBS: “[In a CBS/NYT poll out Tuesday] Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues to hold a double-digit lead in the Democratic race for the nomination nationally, but Sen. Bernie Sanders is gaining on her. Clinton now has the backing of 47 percent of Democratic primary voters (down from 58 percent), while Sanders comes in second, with 27 percent (up from 17 percent). Vice President Joe Biden, who has yet to announce whether he is running for president, receives support from 15 percent of Democratic primary voters.”
A new Hillary PAC uses Ronald Reagan - An ad from Priorities USA, a PAC sponsoring Hillary Clinton, gives a new take on former President Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America” ad from 1984. The PAC takes the original ad and splices in today’s Republican candidates critics of America against Reagan’s optimistic ad.
Bubba sought State OK for paid speech to pro-Iran group - Fox News: “An aide to Bill Clinton asked the State Department in 2012 about the former president potentially delivering a paid speech to an Iranian government-tied group that has pushed for an end to all U.S. sanctions against Tehran, according to an email exclusively obtained by Fox News. The email request, in June 2012, came during a sensitive time for then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that in July 2012, one of her top aides, Jake Sullivan, started meeting in secret with Iranian diplomats in talks that helped paved the way for the nuclear deal with Tehran.”
WHAT? IN THE LIBRARY?
AP: “Police say they’ve arrested a man several days after a complaint someone was spotted crawling under library tables and smelling a woman’s feet at a Florida International University. Miami-Dade police say 52-year-old Eddy Juan was arrested Tuesday and charged with violation of sexual offender registration, fleeing and eluding, reckless driving, aggravated assault and resisting without violence. FIU police had previously released a notice warning students that a man was spotted under a table at a campus library Aug. 29, along with a description and photo. Authorities say a man matching that description was spotted Tuesday on a scooter miles from the campus. Officers attempted a traffic stop, but say the man fled, eventually crashed and was arrested. Bail information wasn’t immediately available. It wasn’t clear if Juan had an attorney.”
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.