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Everything You Need to Know About Tuesday's GOP Debate


Round four, here we come! The next Republican presidential debate will take place on Tuesday, November 10, at the Milwaukee Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Fox Business Network and the Wall Street Journal are co-hosting, with WSJ editor-in-chief Gerard Baker and Fox Business anchors Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo moderating. After all the Republican complaints about CNBC bungling the last GOP debate, it'll be fun to see how these moderators fare under the media-hostile gaze of the candidates. 

The eight contenders averaging at least 2.5 percent in the four most recent national polls will participate in the main debate at 9 p.m. EST: Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, and Rand Paul. Two previous main-debate participants, Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee, have been relegated to the undercard at 7 p.m EST. They will be joined by undercard regulars Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum. Candidates Lindsey Graham and George Pataki, who fall below one percent in the polling averages, will not participate. But as New Republic's Laura Reston writes, the ghost of one failed candidate, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, will haunt the proceedings. 

The Milwaukee Theater already has some fascinating history when it comes to presidential candidates. On October 14, 1912, former President Theodore Roosevelt—who was running a third-party challenge on the "Bull Moose" ticket—was shot in the chest by a would-be assassin outside a nearby Milwaukee hotel. Instead of going to the hospital, Roosevelt insisted on continuing to the Milwaukee Theater (then Milwaukee Auditorium) to give his 90-minute prepared speech. Once on stage, he pulled out his 50 pages of prepared remarks from his coat pocket and showed the audience the blood and bullet holes that punctured both the paper and his chest. “It takes more than that to kill a bull moose,” he told the crowd.

Let's all hope for a slightly less eventful evening than that. The New Republic will be live-blogging the main debate, but to help you get up to speed before the festivities commence, we've compiled a new list of recommended reading for the top five GOP candidates. (Read here for a selection of our best previous stories.)

Oh, and good news: As of Sunday, it's officially less than a year until the 2016 election.

Donald Trump

Teens are showing up en masse to support Trump and buy up his new book, write Elspeth Reeve and Alex Shephard. Too bad they can't vote. Reeve also wonders if Trump has stopped having fun at these debates. Is he bored with us already?

Ben Carson

Carson has fallen hard since the last debate after confessing to fabricating a story about a scholarship offer to West Point, among other details of his autobiography. Brian Beutler wonders: Is this Sarah Palin all over again? The whole debacle just proves that smart people can believe crazy things, writes Jeet Heer. But will the need to defend himself make him a stronger debater on Tuesday? Alex Shephard isn't so sure that's possible. Meanwhile, Suzy Khimm hopes that Carson's equally weird policy prescriptions will garner as much attention in the debate as his tall personal tales. 

Marco Rubio

Right now, Rubio is the only Republican hope, according to Jamil Smith. His defense of his tax plan, though, is full of outright deceptions, writes Brian Beutler. The Florida senator's race to win the "invisible primary" for establishment favor depends in large part on his ability to win endorsements, as Laura Reston writes.

Ted Cruz

During the last debate, Ted Cruz's solutions for women included getting married and returning America to the gold standard, as Rebecca Leber notes. Cool! Also, he still thinks that sucking up to his fellow candidates will make him the last survivor of the coming Trumpocalypse, writes Elspeth Reeve, as he positions himself to inherit both Trump's and Carson's fans. We'll see how that strategy goes for him on Tuesday.

Jeb Bush

Jeb's "joyous" run for president has been an ugly slog for some time now. He's gone from formidable forerunner to a cartoonish loser, says Elspeth Reeve in her Vine analysis. And when he lashed out at Marco Rubio during the last debate, it proved why Bush should just drop out, writes Brian Beutler. Too bad his campaign woes stem from the same source—a party adrift from reality, as Beutler also writes.