It’s the third GOP Debate in as many months, but things have changed since September’s gathering in Simi Valley. For the first time, Donald Trump finds himself slipping in the polls. Jeb Bush, who seemingly had an aura of inevitability surrounding him 6 months ago, is visibly struggling. ABC News contributors Matt Dowd and LZ Granderson previewed what they expect from tonight’s showdown on “Strait Talk.”
It’s make it or break it for Bush -- but he still may not make it.
Matt Dowd: Jeb’s on like, oxygen right now.
LZ Granderson: I don't want to say I feel bad for him, but if you’re in this campaign and you need a jolt, talking about economics for two hours is not the jolt Jeb Bush needs.
MD: The main thing he has to do is show some strength, emotion, show he’s engaged.
LZ: This will him force him to sound even wonkier, which is even less emotional, which isn’t what he needs.
And of course - there’s the frontrunners. Recent comments Ben Carson made suggest ignorance about economic policy, which, if repeated, likely won’t bode well tonight.
LZ: The person who could fall the most from tonight is Ben Carson -- he definitely has the most to lose. He didn’t even know what the debt ceiling was a couple weeks ago. If that’s where he was two weeks ago, I don’t know how he is going to come up with a plan for this country. You have to understand economics on a large scale, a global scale to communicate those holes and your plan for addressing those holes and I don’t know if a guy who didn’t know what the debt ceiling was could do that.
MD. This is a big night for Carson. He’s got to show there’s something more to him than the past 6 months. He may become like a Herman Cain candidate where he rises and falls pretty quick.
And what about, Donald Trump. Is he actually faltering?
MD: He’s in a situation where this is the first he can’t say I'm number 1. That creates an opportunity for a lot of people to finally say were no longer afraid of him, to feel like there’s blood in the water.
LZ: Like you said earlier, people are asking themselves do i want this mouthpiece to represent us as a whole? Do I want us to be represented by a bully?
MD: But he still right now has the likelihood of winning the GOP nomination. He’s ahead in all the state except one. Unless that changes - which it could change tonight - who else could win the nomination?