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Everything You Need to Know about Saturday’s GOP Debate

Donald Trump is beginning to realize he might lose, but the GOP establishment is still on the ropes.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The eighth Republican debate will take place on Saturday, February 6, in Manchester, New Hampshire. The event starts at 8 p.m. EST and will be hosted by ABC News, with World News Tonight anchor David Muir and chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz moderating. Follow the action at the New Republic’s Minutes blog for live updates and analysis.

After refusing to participate in the last Fox News debate, Donald Trump will be back at center stage, flanked by Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and John Kasich. This is the first debate not to feature an undercard round, after a number of candidates—Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum—suspended their campaigns after poor showings in Iowa. It’s also the last chance for candidates to make their case to New Hampshirites before the state’s influential primary on Tuesday.

Notably exempt from Saturday’s lineup is Carly Fiorina, who has spent the last few days unsuccessfully lobbying ABC and the Republican National Committee for inclusion. Many candidates and Republican figures have been supporting her effort, including Mitt Romney, who noted on Twitter that Fiorina won more votes in the Iowa caucuses than both Christie and Kasich. Also absent from the stage, but less noticeably, is Jim Gilmore, who really doesn’t want you to forget he’s running. 

Here’s what the New Republic writers have posted about the top candidates since Iowa:

Donald Trump

Trump’s inability to accept his Iowa defeat gracefully will hurt him in the polls, wrote Jeet Heer. However, the prospect of a Trump rebound isn’t that farfetched, suggested Brian Beutler. The bombastic candidate is starting to realize he might actually lose, said Elspeth Reeve. You can watch his surprisingly pithy post-Iowa speech here. Also, did you know that Trump tattoos are the new hip thing in New Hampshire?

Ted Cruz

Cruz comfortably steered himself to a win in Iowa due to strong Evangelical support, wrote Gwyneth Kelly and Emma Foehringer Merchant. His win made nativist politicians very happy, said Steven Cohen, but his victory speech was hard for even Fox News to watch, noted Jamil Smith. Fun fact: a naked Cruz was once locked out of his college dorm, Alex Shephard reported. Long story short, everyone hates Ted, and they’re not afraid to say it.

Marco Rubio

Even though Cruz performed well in Iowa, Rubio and the GOP establishment are still on the ropes, said Beutler. Rubio effectively attacked Cruz on immigration in the last debate, wrote Cohen and Laura Reston. Santorum endorsed him, though that might not be a good thing, wrote Heer. Christie and Bush are allied against him, Ryu Spaeth noted. And after President Obama spoke at a Baltimore mosque, Rubio did the strategic thing and blasted him for it.

And in other news...

Chris Christie pulled an endorsement from the country’s most popular governor. John Kasich is trying a radical experiment in his new ads. Barbara Bush thinks Jeb! is relatively funny.” And Ben Carson’s campaign is starting to collapse.