Fox Business GOP Debate: What Each Candidate Should Do

Fox Business GOP Debate (Scott Olson / Getty)
Scott Olson / Getty

On Tuesday evening, Fox Business will host the third GOP debate.

The last debate, hosted by CNBC, became a master class in liberal bias and conservative pushback. Candidates will keep that theme alive, especially on the heels of a series of botched media hits on frontrunner Ben Carson. But since Fox is a center-right network, and the topic is the economy, the tension will be considerably lower.

Here is what each of the GOP candidates must do.

Ben Carson: Stand in the spotlight. Pundits want to see more substance from Carson on the economy. He should provide basics, but otherwise use the night to remind voters that he is standing tall despite constant media attacks.

Donald Trump: Deliver. A recent Fox Business poll showed that 42% of GOP primary voters trust Trump most on the economy. Ted Cruz is a very distant second at 10%. This is Trump’s home turf: he should excel–and must.

Marco Rubio: Look the part. Rubio parried a kill shot from Jeb Bush in the last debate, survived a media hit on an old credit card issue, and can talk a good game, but the surging first-term senator still needs to show gravitas.

Ted Cruz: Break from the pack. Cruz blasted the media in the last debate, but to break from the pack he will need to show that he has a command of the issues. He should work his strongest point, which is the national fiscal mess.

Jeb Bush: Keep throwing uppercuts.  Bush should have dropped out after Rubio’s devastating retort in the last debate. But since he’s hanging in there, he may as well try to make an impact. Voters like fight–from anybody.

Carly Fiorina: Inspire. The economy is a great strength for Fiorina, but she has had to defend her record as HP CEO in past debates. This time she should look beyond and sketch a broader vision for prosperity in America.

John Kasich: Talk about the poor. The once-conservative Kasich has built a new brand as a liberal. He should embrace that by talking about what government can do for people. It’s his best way back into the conversation.

Rand Paul: Make the libertarian case. What makes Paul an exciting politician is his willingness to champion small government on issues where few others dare to go. A few daring proposals may give his polls a boost.

Undercard debate:

Chris Christie: Law and order. Newly-relegated Christie can win the night across both debates by talking about his best issue: law enforcement. The crises on campus and in the inner cities play to his strengths as a politician.

Mike Huckabee: Speak for people. Huckabee is often criticized for favoring big-government economic solutions. He can overcome that by telling stores about the people America needs to help. He is always best in narrative mode.

Bobby Jindal: Talk Katrina. Jindal’s great selling point is his track record in rebuilding post-Katrina Louisiana. Once a ruined mess, New Orleans is one of the hottest tech hubs in the world. Jindal has a chance to explain why.

Rick Santorum: Wash, Rinse, Repeat. Santorum’s appeal in 2008 was that he spoke for the workers that Mitt Romney was accused of neglecting. He should keep on talking about the working class Obama has left behind.