- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 6, 2015

What is Donald Trump going to do in the first debate of the 2016 GOP nomination race?

Will Mr. Trump continue with his smash-mouth style of politics by lampooning his rivals and casting them as buffoons and lightweights? Or will he tame down the Trump show and follow the advise of many Republicans by trying to act more presidential?

That is all the buzz heading into Thursday’s highly anticipated debate in Cleveland, where 10 of the 17 Republican presidential candidates are set to face off for the first time.

“This is his debate and the other candidates will distinguish and define themselves by having to react to the situation as it unfolds live tonight, and they will react in the reflection of Donald Trump,” Steve Schmidt, a GOP strategist who steered Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “It is just as simple as that.”

Fox News opened the debate to 10 candidates based on five recent national polls.

Mr. Trump is the front-runner and will be standing in the center of the stage, flanked by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and the rest of the top contenders.

“It is an opportunity for Donald Trump to move beyond telling people they are stupid, telling people they are morons, to be a serious person at a serious time in the nation’s history and to make himself a candidate for the presidency that people, like you Joe and a lot of people covering this today, can see as a perspective Republican nominee,” Mr. Schmidt told host Joe Scarborough, a former member of Congress.

Mr. Schmidt attributed Mr. Trump’s rise to the public being fed up and angry with the federal government.

“We will see, though: Can he continue to grow those favorable numbers and can he be seen as someone who can take the oath of office in the eyes of American voters?” he said. “Or is he just a summer sensation tapping into this angry vein in American politics.”

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