I want you to win. I believe that Rubio would be a continuation of George W. Bush compassionate conservatism. I believe Trump would be the ruination of the conservative movement, and I believe Sanders or Clinton would oversee the nation finally losing its last vestiges of federalism. You have two targets you must hit on Thursday, and hit them hard.
Trump’s supporters like his “tell it like it is,” “he fights,” “he’s a winner,” “he’s one of us,” and they believe he will “shake things up.” You must attack him on all of these fronts. During the debate be prepared to absolutely smack him down on any and all of these. Pick the fights – his supporters will not leave him for anyone who does not initiate the fight.
- “Donald, you have mentioned birther nonsense all this year. Either file the suit or shut up about it. Stop whining, stop threatening, actually do something. Otherwise how does anyone ever trust you to do anything that you promise?” (Note: Using the phrase “shut-up” is important – it will connect with voters and lays out the argument in a way where he has to either admit defeat or file a suit that cannot win)
- “Donald has talked about fighting for people. When I see his history I see a man who has driven small business owners into bankruptcy and tried to steal houses from old widows using the courts. I am pretty sure the only person he has ever fought for is himself.” (Note: Donald will respond by calling you self serving. Have a rebuttal ready)
- “Donald mentions his business success as evidence that he can lead our economy. He’s driven his own company into bankruptcy what, three times? Do we really want that repeated from the oval office?”
- “Donald, you keep calling me a liar. Could you remind me who exactly is going on trial for actual fraud later this year?”
- “People want a change. In fact in 2008 the only thing people voted for is hope and change. Donald is constantly talking about how he gets favors from his political friends. Do we really want someone who tries to corrupt politicians in office?” (clean this one up – I am sure you can do better than I did there, but you get the idea)
Hit him, hit him hard, hit him where it counts. Separate him from his supporters as the consumate insider, someone who plays both sides, and weak. Address him directly and forcefully. You were the SG – treat him as a hostile witness.
Rubio’s support is largely center lane “only one capable of winning the general” and “plays well with others.”
- Rubio, you are on record as supporting Lybia, interventions in Syria, immigration reform, and [add a few more here]. All of this is the George W. Bush legacy. I know a lot of people view you as more electable, but I think in 2008 that legacy was staunchly rejected. How can you possibly win when you are running for George Bush’s third term?
- You throw around the term liar a lot. I find that fascinating when you ran against immigration reform, sponsored the largest immigration reform bill in a generation, then deny that you ever wanted it to succeed. If fighting for something that you hopes fail is success what exactly is success in your book? How would fighting for conservative justices look different?
- I love Marco Rubio. I am his biggest fan. You want to know who else is? All the senators currently in D.C. who have given Obama everything he wants, including funding planned parenthood. They throw a half billion at our butchers one day and then endorse Marco Rubio the next. I am proud to say that none of the congressmen who endorsed me voted for a bill that funds planned parenthood. I am proud not to be a part of that.
- Also – label Rubio D.C.’s favorite senator.
Rubio’s establishment support is willing to compromise on the lives of babies. His voters are not. Drive a wedge between Rubio’s supporters and his voters. Also – point out that establishment support is not necessarily congruent with voter support (just ask Jeb).
- Your donors: Separate your major donors from the D.C. establishment. “My PACs are backed by men and women across America who did well in business by making a product people wanted, not by people who used government strings to build their empire at the expense of others. My supporters have donated millions specifically because they believe that I am the candidate most likely to end the plague of abortion in this nation.”
- Your lack of playing well with others: Point out that you worked well at the SG of Texas. The only time you had a problem on a team was when that team wanted to vote people out of their money and out of their freedom.
- You being a liar:
- “I am being called a liar for accurately passing a story written by CNN – the hosts of this debate. Before calling me a liar you ought to request they retract their story and apologize for it. Anything else is just opportunism.”
- “Donald Trump insists I am a liar for making ads where I air an interview of him saying he loves planned parenthood. If he doesn’t believe that he shouldn’t have said it. Either say you were wrong, or admit I am right. Otherwise it’s just doublespeak.”
- Did my campaign falsely link to a bad video? Yes, and I fired the person responsible and made a public apology. That is called taking responsibility. Donald – you compared one of your opponents a child molester. Who was responsible for that one, and who did you fire?
- Unhinged, unstable, etc: Am I unhinged? Well, I believe that Americans should be able to live their lives free from government coercion. One of my opponents on stage recently spoke about how the Obamacare mandate is a good thing. I it is unhinged to believe people should make their health choices without Kathleen Sebelius poking her head in then I guess so. (Note: avoid putting together the words “then I guess I am unhinged”)
Altogether – hit and hit hard. Hit both Trump and Rubio where it matters (their voters). Attack them on their strengths, not their weaknesses. Weaknesses have been exploited as much as they can, the foundations need to be addressed now.
Good luck, and we are praying for you.