What to Expect From FOX’s First GOP Debate

Dante Chinni of the Wall Street Journal speaks to the Texas Standard about what to expect from Thursday’s anticipated event.

By Rhonda FanningAugust 4, 2015 4:57 pm,

The debate – or rather, the wait for the debate – is here.

At 4pm CST today, Fox News announced the top 10 Republican presidential candidates to participate in the first GOP debate of the 2016 campaign, which is set for Thursday.

Among the pundits, politicians and political analysts following the day’s drama is Dante Chinni, a columnist with the Wall Street Journal and author of the book “Our Patchwork Nation.” He spoke to the Standard this morning in anticipation of Thursday’s big event.

On the national polls Fox News uses:

The people at the Fox decision desk, they’re good “numbers people.” And they’re looking at all [these polls] and … my thinking is, and I think the belief in Washington in general is, they’re going to use a standard criteria that’s probably registered Republicans or Republican primary voters, which would make the most sense.

On the benefits of not being in the main debate:

It is interesting, a lot of people say maybe it’s better to be in the second debate … the “kids’ table debate,” people call it here. This one will precede the big show. The benefit about that is there’s no Donald Trump there, which is possibly a good thing. Donald Trump could suck a lot of oxygen out of the room in the first debate. And it’s not 10 people on stage, so maybe it’s a better thing. You’re still going to have six or seven, but it’s better than 10.

On how much time each candidate gets to talk:

When you go through the math on this, you figure [the debate is] two hours…ten minutes for introductions, and they could go a little over they say. You’re talking about a total of maybe 10 to 11 minutes per candidate. Now the format is everyone gets a minute to reply to questions and you get 30 seconds for rebuttal. It’s going to depend how the host, also the referee, handles this, and how many rebuttals [the host is] going to allow.

On what’s good about the big debate:

The benefit you will have, I guess in theory, is that they’re all going to be on stage together and they can jump in on each other. I’m almost certain there will come a point when somebody says, “I need to respond that, he attacked me directly.”