It’s time for GOP Debate #4. And like the other three, it has the potential to be a game changer. ABC News contributors LZ Granderson and Matt Dowd discuss the scrutiny Ben Carson is facing over claims in his autobiography to whether Jeb Bush can use this debate to mount a comeback.
Now neck and neck with Donald Trump, the former pediatric neurosurgeon is under the microscope for a plethora of claims in his autobiography, from admission to West Point to whether he actually tried to hit his mother with a hammer. These incidents “really shined a negative light on Carson,” Granderson said. The Carson campaign has fired back on these reports, using them as a vehicle to blame the media for unfair scrutiny. But, Granderson says, if Carson chooses to attack the media over his rivals tonight (mainly Donald Trump), that just signals he isn’t taking the nomination seriously. “Attacking the media says I am not going to fight for the nomination,” Granderson explained.
Trump is coming off a weekend where, in an effort to maintain his front-runner status, he hosted “Saturday Night Live.” Neither Dowd nor Granderson thought his performance was stellar. “I would have said make an appearance, but don’t host the show,” Dowd said. “He wasn’t that funny,” Granderson agreed, noting “he doesn’t play well with others.” With Carson breathing down his neck in the polls, Trump will likely be on the attack. It should be noted that despite his rankings in the polls, Trump went 28 minutes in the last debate without saying a word.
Once thought of as the man who would dominate a crowded field, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is polling at roughly 4 percent. After what many deemed a disastrous debate performance in Boulder, Bush’s campaign launched a comeback, coining the slogan “Jeb can fix it.” But will he fix it tonight? “I don’t see Jeb really changing,” said Dowd. “You can’t change who you are.”
This debate is centered around business and the economy, giving Trump a prime chance to flex his muscles. What should be debated this time, Dowd said, is how to shrink the size of government and bolster the middle class economically. “Jobs have grown in Obama’s presidency but there's a great sense in the middle class that they aren’t moving,” Dowd explained. “I would like someone to talk about how you fundamentally help a middle class that hasn’t seen a real wage increase in 30 years.”