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As Republican candidates gather for the first prime time debate since CNBC’s unintentionally frightful pre-Halloween debate, count on one thing: the moderators will be doing everything they can tonight to avoid being subject to mockery tomorrow.
“This is an opportunity for us to make sure the world knows what the Fox Business Network is,” moderator Maria Bartiromo told CNN earlier.
FBN will attempt to avoid CNBC’s mistakes in terms of format and production–including a buzzer to keep tight control over timing. It’s unclear if the candidates themselves will take a different approach, perhaps turning their fire on each other, rather than the media.
“We’ll see what happens,” Donald Trump told ABC News this morning. “It’ll be loose and flexible. I have no idea what’s going to happen but it will be interesting.”
Also interesting–Jeb Bush‘s pre-debate warmup:
New pre-debate ritual: Bocce ball. pic.twitter.com/J1aRyy5KuT
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) November 11, 2015
Christie focused his comments on defeating Hillary Clinton, while Jindal came out swinging at Christie and Huckabee. He also dropped one of the strangest metaphors of the 2016 cycle, so far: “We’ve got four senators running, they’ve never cut anything in D.C.,” Jindal said. “They give the long speeches called filibusters, they pat themselves on the back, nothing changes when they go to relieve themselves, their cause and the toilets get flushed at the same time and the American people lose.”
And there was Mike Huckabee’s joke about his wife’s anger:
The Fox Business debate got an attaboy from a surprising source: John Harwood, one of the moderators of CNBC’s debate, who was repeatedly attacked during and after the CNBC event. Harwood was impressed by the questioning, and even the network’s use of a live stream for people who don’t have FBN:
Fox Business live stream has been outstanding
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) November 11, 2015
9:30 p.m. ET: 10th Grade Taking a question, Ben Carson responded by joking, “thanks for not asking me what I said in 10th grade,” a reference to a flood of stories about the candidate’s youth, and stories he has told repeatedly from that time.
9:35 p.m. ET: High Fives at Clinton HQ Jeb Bush urged Republicans to move away from a divisive debate over immigration, suggesting that the folks at the Clinton campaign are “doing high fives.” And it turns out, he may have been right.
Clinton campaign press secretary Brian Fallon then tweeted “we actually are doing high-fives right now.”
9:50 p.m. ET: Listing Agencies Fails for Texan, Yet Again In a detailed discussion of the tax code, Ted Cruz attempted to list the agencies he’d cut, and mistakenly listed Commerce twice.
As the second hour begins, here’s Twitter data on who’s trending:
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) November 11, 2015
10:25 p.m. ET: Bush, Trump, Fiorina Clash Over Syria Donald Trump suggested he’d support letting Russia’s Putin go into Syria to fight ISIS. Bush pushed back, telling Trump his description of foreign policy sounded like a “board game,” and that the United States has to lead.
Noting that Trump had referenced having met Putin during an appearance on 60 Minutes, Carly Fiorina took a shot at the frontrunner. “And I’ve met Putin as well…not in a green room for a show, but in a private meeting.”
10:45 p.m. ET: The Boss Is Happy The debate isn’t quite over yet, but Rupert Murdoch has tweeted a message saying he’s satisfied with the discussion aired on Fox Business:
Great debate. All did well, Carson, Bush, others did well, perhaps Rubio best of all. With all doing well Trump did not stand out like past
— Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) November 11, 2015
11:10 p.m. ET: Closing Statements The debate, fiery at times, runs past 11, and we will see in the morning what media and political watchers thought. Did Fox Business succeed where CNBC failed?