Jake Tapper, CNN’s chief Washington correspondent, is scheduled to moderate the Republican debate Wednesday, alongside Dana Bash, CNN’s chief political correspondent, and conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. The moderators aim to emphasize interaction between the candidates in contrast to the first GOP debate, during which candidates spent a lot of airtime outlining their positions and had limited exchanges with the other Republican candidates.
“My goal is more about: Let’s draw the contrasts between the candidates and have them fight it out over these policies, over who has the best approach to Putin, over who has the best approach to taxes, over who believes what, over immigration reform,” said Jake Tapper, according to the New York Times. “Have them lay it all out so voters can see it.”
Bash's stance is also focused on encouraging a back-and-forth debate for round two of the Republican showdown.
“Our whole approach is sparking a debate,” said Bash, the New York Times reported. “If someone says something that cries out for an obvious follow-up with someone who clearly disagrees or someone who is dying to get in, let it happen. Let the debate be a debate.”
During the first GOP debate on Aug. 6 in Cleveland, Republican candidate Donald Trump sparred with moderator and Fox News correspondent Megyn Kelly. Kelly grilled Trump about demeaning comments he has made about women in the past, prompting Trump to issue a controversial statement the next day.
"There was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her...wherever," said Trump, Rolling Stone reported.
It is unclear what Trump’s interaction with the debate moderators this time around will be like, but with Trump currently leading in the polls, he has scored a lectern in the middle of the stage, according to the New York Times.
“Part of it is putting him through the rigor,” said Bash, the New York Times reported. “But it’s also remembering that this is not a Donald Trump interview — this is a debate among 15 candidates over the course of many hour….It’s not all about making sure that you press Donald Trump on X, Y and Z. It’s maybe pressing him on X because another candidate thinks Y and there’s a genuine disagreement.”
Debate moderators could have a hard time managing the 11 presidential candidates who will be taking part in the top-tier debate.
"I don't know if bringing out a whip and a lion tamer's chair would help, but we're just going to try to enforce the rules and ask the questions and see what happens," said Tapper, CNNMoney reported.