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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Are the Republicans making history?

With the hours counting down until Thursday night’s first official Republican presidential debate, talk remains centered on polls and which candidates will get the chance to face off in the primetime portion of the program.

Erick Erickson of RedState says he supports the idea of limiting the debate to the top ten candidates in Jeb Bushnational surveys, but he also thinks the standard may be in danger of being hijacked by “crap” polls.

“The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Rick Perry essentially tied for tenth place, with Perry at the bottom. But the poll is of less than 300 people and has a margin of error of over 6%... [P]olls with margins of error over 6%, put into the polling averages, can throw a monkey wrench in things.”

One thing is clear – there’s no easy way to fix this so everyone’s happy.

The candidates who apparently will make the primetime stage are putting in various degrees of preparation, though most agree they won’t get much of an opportunity to talk about anything substantively and in depth.

Instead, they’re preparing one-liners. In their drive to be remembered, some view it as necessary to stand out with pithy messages that can be delivered quickly. If having ten candidates on stage is as mundane as it’s been in times past, it’s probably a good strategy to try and say something memorable.

Of course, everyone’s wondering what Donald Trump is going to do – and say. Unlike previous debates where the top candidates were mostly well-known politicians, Trump is an outsider with a reputation for being blunt and unafraid of confrontation.

And for those who don’t even make the stage, it could be devastating. “Because the debate is still six months away from the Iowa caucuses, a failure to make it on the primetime stage may not be the official kiss of death. But since it provides such a clear stratification of the field, a failure to place within the top 10 comes with significantly more of a cost than in previous election cycles,” writes Ben Kamisar of The Hill.

For his part, Trump says it was his opponents who attacked first – and that he doesn’t plan on attacking anyone in the debate.

Finally, it is a bit ironic that Thursday night’s debate will not actually be the first forum where a large number of the candidates will appear together. Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire wanted to make sure that Fox News does not turn the race into a national primary, so they held a forum that took place on Monday night (televised by CSPAN). If you missed it, don’t worry – not that many people even knew about it.

Watch it here if you must!

It’s understandable that the early states would want to keep their privileged place in line, though they haven’t exactly been reliable in picking winners of late.

Chris Christie’s back to big talk

At one time, Chris Christie evoked the same kind of excitement in conservatives that Donald Trump does today, largely due to the fact he was viewed as a straight-talker who wasn’t afraid of taking on entrenched liberal institutions to advance the cause of limited government.

Christie was seen as a public union buster before Scott Walker, but has flamed-out since. That famous walk he took with President Obama just days before the 2012 election effectively erased the favorable opinions of many.

Now that he’s running for president, however, Christie seems to be trying to reclaim his previous reputation, saying that “’the national teacher’s union’ deserves a ‘punch in the face.’”

Christie also says he regrets calling for a ban on assault weapons early in his political career.

Do you believe him?

Bush sits on a huge pile of cash, won’t apologize

For months, Jeb Bush delayed his “official” announcement that he was running for president so he could slither up to wealthy donors to accumulate a lot of loot.

He was successful, and he’s not sorry:

“The purpose is to run with purpose, run with heart, run in a way that draws people towards our cause, and money helps. Money helps. I’m playing by the rules of the game, the way it’s laid out. And if people don’t like it, that’s just tough luck.”

Does that sound like a guy who claims he will unite the party?

Ben Carson: Trump’s helped me

Neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson said on Sunday that fellow outsider Donald Trump has been good for his candidacy. “I think it’s a tremendous help. It’s a tremendous aid because fewer people are talking about my lack of political experience now. And that’s good, because, you know, experience can come from a variety of different places, and certainly the life that you have led.”

Like Trump, Carson says he’s had a lot of experience in the business world that would help him in governing.

Carson has perhaps the field’s best life story… but he’s got a long way to go in convincing people he can handle a job the size of the presidency.

One thing that will help Carson in doing so is his utter rejection of political correctness. Good for him.

History being made, right before our eyes

Jill Ornitz of ABC News writes, “The GOP now has 17 major contenders for the nomination … breaking the record previously held by the 16 candidates who sought the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 1972.”

It’s conceivable the field could narrow as early as next week (after the first debate). The Iowa straw poll had that effect in 2011, forcing Tim Pawlenty to bow out after finishing poorly in the poll and also weakly presenting himself in debates.

Here’s guessing that probably won’t happen this year.

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Dr. Ben Carson

I would like to thank Jeffrey A. Rendall for at least mentioning Dr. Ben Carson as a candidate for President. It is like others think Dr. Carson is invisible by never writing about him or his ideas of how to take care of the mess this world is in. There are many of us following and supporting Dr. Ben Carson in this race and it's about time media stated taking him seriously.

Thank you