Presidential primary debates are always a tad messy, especially the closer they are to the casting of votes.
And with only one more debate on the schedule before the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucus on Feb. 1, and 11 candidates still clawing for voters' attention, it's going to be really messy Thursday night. FOX Business Network will host two debates, one at 6 p.m. Eastern Time, the second at 9 p.m. Eastern.
Both can be viewed on the cable/satellite channel, or by streaming at FOXBusiness.com. In anticipation, here are five things you can expect from the evening's political theater:
1. The 'Under Card' Debate Will Be Fun to Watch: Usually, the lower-polling candidates' debates have been dominated by Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, but by adding Carly Fiorina to the mix—minus George Pataki and Lindsey Graham—expect to see a very interesting debate on substantive issues without too much vitriol.
2. Rand Paul Will Be Trolling: And we're not talking about fishing here. Expect the Kentucky senator's social media outlets to "blow up" during both debates, and not just with a bunch of sour grapes over not being invited to the main debate. He'll be laying out the case for his own agenda, while no doubt having "fun" with his opponents.
3. Almost Every Question Will Focus on Taxes, Jobs, and the Economy: That's by design. This debate has already been predetermined to focus on those issues. That's not to say that timely issues, such as Iran's seizure of two U.S. naval boats on Tuesday, won't come up. But, going in, viewers should understand this is what they're going to get.
4. It's Going to Be Four on Two: While Ted Cruz and Donald Trump want every vote they can get, they're both in comfortable positions heading into the Iowa Caucus. That's not the case for Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Jeb Bush, or Ben Carson. It seems unlikely Carson will get too fired up, but the other four are going to be very aggressive in an attempt to "score points" and win over voters.
5. Trump vs. Cruz Won't Be Anything Like Ali vs. Frazier: But it will be close. Trump knows he has an issue—Cruz' birth in Canada—that can sway voters, and he's going to use it. Cruz, on the other hand, can't afford to "play nice" with the likes of Trump anymore. Political blows will be traded, and some of them might even seem a little "nasty."
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