Today I’m in Boulder, CO for the CNBC debate, which will be Ben Carson’s to win or lose.
Carson will now be at center stage, next to Donald Trump, a position once held by former Governor Jeb Bush. Carson has worked his way closer and closer to the center of the stage. As any of the candidates could tell you from the prior debates, the candidates further from the center get to talk the least.
In the CNN debate, Carson did not have a stand out moment. His debate performance in the Fox debate and, in particular, his closing statement, resonated with lots of people. The CNN debate, though, found him fighting to even get a word in.
Since that debate, Carson has on multiple occasions confused the national debt and the deficit and muddied other economic statements. He has, I suspect, been preparing for this debate and, you should know by now, is a really, really smart guy.
That makes this CNBC debate about the economy very important for Ben Carson. He is at center stage, gets the chance to correct some misstatements, and show he has what it takes as an outsider to lead.
Polling in Iowa shows Carson going up and I suspect we are about to hear of other early state polling showing the same. For Carson to win this debate, he does not need transcendent moments. He just needs to show he can engage, knows what he is talking about, and can defend himself from what I suspect will be passive aggressive jabs from Donald Trump.
A brain surgeon should be able to handle this.