SIMI VALLEY (CBSLA.com/AP) — Eleven top-tier Republican presidential hopefuls face off in their second prime-time debate of the 2016 campaign Wednesday, in a clash between outsiders and establishment candidates under a cathedral of political conservatism.
Set in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, the debate is expected to turn on a rapid-fire series of questions and answers on foreign and domestic policy and politics, according to sponsor CNN.READ MORE: DEA Warns Of Aggressive Scammers Texting Fake FBI Badges To Extort Money, Steal Personal Information
More broadly, the question is about the viability of untested candidates challenged by experienced public policymakers, in a wide-open contest that counts as its front-runner a billionaire developer expected by many to have self-destructed by now.
Using results from post-debate polls to determine the order the candidates would appear on the stage in front of the Boeing 707 that Reagan as president used as Air Force One, Donald Trump will again be at the center of the broadcast that begins at 5 p.m.
He’ll be flanked by retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson to his right and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to his left.
The other candidates will be arrayed outward, with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on either end. Looming in the background: Reagan’s presidential plane.
Former Hewlett-Packard Chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina was added to the 10 candidates who participated in the campaign’s first main debate after a rule change late last month to include any candidate who made the top 10 in an average of polls conducted following the Fox News/Facebook debate on Aug. 6.
Sean Spicer, communications director and chief strategist of the Republican National Committee, told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO he expects a slightly different experience than the previous debate.
“I think the dynamic’s absolutely gonna change, not just because the addition of [Fiorina], but I think that…the moderators tonight will sort of ask questions in a different way that will just by nature make the debate a little bit different,” said Spicer.READ MORE: San Diego Woman Sues GoFundMe Campaign Creator Over Starbucks Barista Fundraiser
It won’t just be die-hard conservative voters at the Reagan Library: a self-described “diverse coalition” of community organizations were on hand to voice concerns over what they described as “anti-immigrant, anti-working family’s (sic) rhetoric being advanced by top GOP contenders and certain media institutions.”
The “#NoHateDebate Rally” included a caravan of buses, vans and cars at the Presidential Library, and protesters holding up signs that read “Reagan Is Pissed” and “Stop The Hate”.
And while most said they were addressing their message to all of the GOP candidates, the focus seemed primarily to be on Donald Trump.
“I feel Donald Trump is spreading the most hate,” said one protester.
“Trump is an entertainer,” another protester said. “He doesn’t deserve a seat in the White House.”MORE NEWS: Driver Killed In Fiery Wreck On 60 Freeway In Hacienda Heights Despite 'Heroic' Efforts Of Good Samaritan
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