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Four Storylines to Watch at the Las Vegas GOP Debate

Four Storylines to Watch at the Las Vegas GOP Debate

NATIONAL REVIEW

Trump vs. Cruz? - Donald Trump appears to be itching for a fight with Ted Cruz, after the New York Times posted audio of Cruz privately dismissing Trump’s candidacy as likely to fade. Trump had said he would not attack Cruz unless the Texas senator attacked him, but, appearing on Fox News Sunday, Trump called Cruz “a little bit of a maniac” and declared: “I don’t think he’s qualified to be president.”

As eager as Trump is for a fight, Cruz appears equally eager to avoid the confrontation, tweeting laudatory comments about his rival, and deflecting the “maniac” jab by posting a clip from the movie Flashdance.  ....

Everyone vs. Trump - Trump ignited a fresh controversy last week when he proposed blocking all Muslims from entering the U.S. in the wake of the terror attack in San Bernardino, Calif. The comment provoked the strongest backlash from Republicans yet against their front-runner. All the other GOP candidates have disavowed Trump’s proposal, with varying degrees of force — but the Vegas debate offers them the first opportunity to say it to Trump’s face. Candidates like Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Chris Christie could try to seize the moment to be the adult in the room.  ...

Cruz vs. Rubio - Immigration has been one of the main subjects of the Republican conversation thus far, and with the candidates facing off in a state where 28 percent of the population is Hispanic, the topic is almost certain to come up. Since the last debate, Rubio and Cruz, the two Hispanic Republicans in the field, have been butting heads on immigration. ...

Does Christie make his case? - The New Jersey governor’s strategy of camping out in New Hampshire is finally starting to pay dividends: Polls show Christie climbing solidly into contention in the first-in-the-nation primary state. That strong polling allowed him to muscle his way back onto the main stage, after a brief appearance at the kiddie table last month in Milwaukee. ...

— Alexis Levinson is senior political reporter for National Review.

 

Read the full story in the National Review

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