A fair bit of bytes are being spent speculating on who Carly Fiorina will force off the next primetime debate roster in Simi Valley, California. Christie and Kasich, two all-in-all moderate GOP governors are slated as likely losers, along with Huckabee, an ex-governor. While the ex-governor of Arkansas almost certainly will be off the roster, all the fuss over Christie versus Kasich – who was treated like a front-runner by the hometown crowd last week – covers up the story of another GOP candidates who, at least in the latest PPP poll, has had a steady and impressive rise in his numbers. Maybe the media got a little tired of the Great-Neurosurgeon-Who-Will-Save-America story and decided not to focus on the fact that in the PPP poll, Carson is second. Yes that means he’s the one behind Trump who has 19% while Ben Carson comes in with 12%. Will Fox news use the PPP poll to place Ben’s pulpit palpably closer to the public-attention-getting center stage? As in right next to the most-hated-candidate-in-GOP-history-perhaps who still leads the polls?

Ben Carson started the debate in Cleveland a little nervously, a little more tense than his usual steady calming presence which has been winning over voters in what seems – for now at least – a sustainable way. But perhaps his lack of political experience really showed up in Cleveland when he did not come out with guns blazing and a precise focus the way Carly did. Ben’s speaking style may not work as well in a debate format where he has to share his precious few minutes with 9 others on the same stage. His strong finish, however, may have been just enough to keep his bandwagon rolling along at a reassuring rhythm. He will need to be both precise and convincing, as well as calm and assured, in the next debate. That’s an almost impossible ask, but he has no choice but to rise to the occasion. And, if some polls are any indication, he just might be up to the task.

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