Last chance for the candidates to speak to a biggish TV audience at length before South Carolina votes, unless of course you’re Donald Trump and can dial in to “Morning Joe” on any day ending in “Y” to ramble for an hour about whatever’s on your mind. Coincidentally, Trump is getting his own candidate forum tonight on MSNBC hosted by — ta da — Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. How strange that the liberal cable network would give Trump a free hour at the same time that the two most conservative candidates in the field are set to be interviewed on CNN.
The CNN forum, incidentally, is a two-night event. Cruz, Rubio, and Ben Carson will go tonight from 8-9:30 p.m. ET; tomorrow night it’s Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Trump. It’s not a debate, just a Q&A with each of the candidates in sequence, but given the hostility lately between Cruz and Rubio it’ll probably operate as a sort of debate. That’s one thing to watch tonight: Do they go after each other or focus on tearing down Trump? I don’t think my heart can take a full hour of each of them whining about how the other’s distorting his record. On the other hand, each has some good news to tout if they want to keep things positive. Cruz has the shocking new poll from the WSJ/NBC showing him up two points on Trump nationally (a separate post on that is coming) and Rubio, of course, has the Nikki Haley endorsement. Here’s what that looked like this evening in South Carolina when she finally made it official, followed by Cruz’s new attack ad on Rubio in South Carolina. Given what she’s had to say about “amnesty” recently, Haley herself should enjoy it.