Once the clock struck noon, the activity inside the Spin Room of the Coors Events Center started to pick up. Local and national TV outlets flooded the open area in front of the writers rows’, and candidates trickled out to field questions or do quick interviews with networks. One of those networks was Fox News, whose chief political correspondent, Carl Cameron, discussed with the CUI how tonight might pan out for the ten candidates on the debate stage.
“There’s a very simple conventional wisdom that Carson and Trump are going to be sparring with each other for front-runner status and that a battle between Bush, Rubio and Cruz, principally, for the establishment lanes in all of this,” Cameron explained. “And yet, the public is just not excited about politics. There is an anger in this country, a cynicism, and a sense of dissatisfaction that is happening with Washington.”
While students have made their voices heard regarding their lack of direct participation in the debate, whether that be in the form of ticketing or otherwise, GOP candidate Rand Paul sat with students in the C4C before coming to Coors.
“We want more interaction,” says Paul, whose views on issues pertinent to Coloradans might score points tonight. “One of the primary focuses of the campaign for us is to get young students to vote because I am the one candidate that doesn’t want the government collecting your phone records, doesn’t want the government putting you in jail for marijuana.”
Paul currently is polling in the bottom half of the 10 candidates participating in tonight’s debate (he sits at around four percent), but Cameron believes that the polls aren’t really necessary at this point in time.
“It breaks out to Donald Trump and Ben Carson at the top of the polls. The polls being questioned by Trump and the polls historically have been too early to really be relevant on a national level, and usually completely topsy turvy in the early states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina,” contends Cameron. “A lot of that is a process-oriented horse race that really has nothing to do with what voters’ preferences are at this point.”
However the political landscape looks at the end of the night, one thing looks more likely than other things in regards to how tonight’s debate will go: Donald Trump will probably say something that will garner headlines.
The former real-estate mogul, who is currently polling second in the GOP race has gotten into spats with Megyn Kelly of Fox News, joked about Rosie O’Donnell and has famously proposed building a wall on the border of the United States and Mexico. Having lost his top spot (and center stage position on the debate stage) to Carson, Trump will likely have a couple opportunities to make news yet again.
“We know that he can say virtually everything that crosses his mind. But voters aren’t impressed by polls,” Cameron says. “There is a bandwagon effect that can be created by a candidate in the short-term on this sort of thing but eventually you have to come up with real ideas that people can understand, that they can relate to.”
The GOP Debate officially starts at 4 p.m. MST with the undercard debate. At 6 p.m., the main stage event will begin. Until then, the CU Independent will keep you updated throughout the day from the campus of the University of Colorado at Boulder.