The Republican presidential debate season opens in August, and already the first debate, on Fox News, is shaping up to be a high-stakes test that could crash a campaign, rather than a warm and cozy event in front of friendly questioners.
Writing at Politico, Bill Scher says the Fox-first debate schedule that may have been “a play to keep their candidates safe inside a conservative cocoon now looks like a trap.”
Scher argues candidates who arrive at Fox News expecting some kind of cordial conversation don’t prepare themselves–and they trip over their own feet. Megyn Kelly‘s recent question to Jeb Bush about Iraq was damaging, as was Marco Rubio‘s performance under tough questioning by Chris Wallace:
As Wallace bore into Rubio’s varying responses, the unprepared Senate freshman dug himself into a hole by pleading semantic differences regarding questions about whether Iraq was a mistake and whether he’d have invaded knowing what we know now. Relentless, Wallace asked Rubio about seven times “Was it a mistake?” And he refused to let Rubio answer it with caveats, cutting him off with “I’m not asking you that.”
If Wallace were not working for Rupert Murdoch, the loaded questions, opinionated assertions and repeated interruptions would earn Wallace a lifetime membership in the Liberal Media Elite Club.
Kelly, Wallace and Bret Baier, who’s been described as “a Boy Scout with a very sharp knife,” are the moderators for that first GOP debate. “If the RNC and the presidential candidates thought beginning its debate season on Fox News would be like spring training, the recent spate of gaffes committed on Fox News should be a wake-up call that everyone needs to get into shape a lot faster.”