And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for – especially if you’re CNN. Tonight we get the second debate of Republican candidates for President of These United States, and the must-see factor is high. Whether this faceoff from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA, can match the 24 million viewers Fox News scooped for the first debate on August 6 is iffy, but CNN has been plugging it for weeks, even installing a countdown clock for the past several days. The main draw, of course, is Donald Trump the USFL owner/real estate mogul/political correctness advocate’s nightmare who is the front-runner in every poll. But closing in on him is a man who was all but an afterthought a month ago: retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who will pick brains at his leisure tonight. And even longer shot five weeks ago was former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, who was so far back in the polls that Fox News relegated her to the junior-circuit pre-primetime debate among the seven lowest-polling candidates. Most pundits agreed that her performance that night, basically showing her male rivals how it’s done, got her the invite to the grownups table tonight.
Also onstage tonight are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Follow along as we pick out the best, worst, funniest, saddest and most outrageous moments of the reality TV show that is the second Republican debate of the 2016 presidential race. CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash and conservative radio pundit Hugh Hewitt are your moderators. Let the follies begin.