Four GOP candidates will be on the debate stage, while Trump holds a fundraiser. Follow live updates

Dec 6, 2023, 1:11 PM

Four Republican presidential hopefuls — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — will be participating in Wednesday night’s debate in Alabama. The early front-runner for the GOP nomination, former President Donald Trump, will be holding a fundraiser in Florida instead.

What to know

How to watch the Republican debate

A narrowing field will debate less than six weeks before the Iowa caucuses

The debate will be a key moment for the young NewsNation cable network

The fourth debate will be held in Alabama, the state that gave the GOP a roadmap to Trump

Will they take on Trump as the gloves come off?

In case you haven’t noticed, some of these candidates don’t like one another very much. And six weeks before Iowa votes, the increasing pressure to break out, combined with the participants’ animus, could produce fireworks early and often.

In the last debate, Haley called Ramaswamy “scum” after he picked on her daughter’s social media habits. Ramaswamy slapped at DeSantis’ choice of footwear. In recent days, DeSantis attacked Haley as the “last gasp of a failed political establishment.” And don’t sleep on Christie, who once upon a time almost single-handedly ended Marco Rubio’s presidential aspirations on the debate stage.

Perhaps most importantly, the participants also have an opportunity to go after Trump, who will not be on stage to defend himself.

They have poked at the absentee front-runner to varying degrees in prior debates, but nothing they have done to date has weakened his grip on the nomination.

Could another Democrat beat Trump? ‘Probably 50 of them,’ Biden says

Biden has said it is imperative that Trump doesn’t get reelected to the White House and has framed that as the reason he is running for reelection at age 81.

But on Wednesday, asked if another Democrat could defeat Trump in 2024, Biden answered, “Probably 50 of them.”

Biden declined to elaborate on who else he believed could best the Republican front-runner and former U.S. president. “I’m not the only one, but I will defeat him,” Biden said.

Democrats say Trump’s GOP rivals are just as extreme as he is

Democrats gathered at the University of Alabama for the Republican presidential debate are framing the GOP field as being every bit as extreme as their absent front-runner.

Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Quentin Fulks, said, “Every Republican on stage tonight is desperate to mirror Donald Trump’s MAGA agenda.” Fulks argued that a Republican administration would hurt middle-class Americans economically and impose a national abortion ban.

Former U.S. Sen. Doug Jones joined Fulks at a news conference adjacent to the debate site. Jones was especially critical of Trump suggesting in a Fox News town hall Tuesday night that he would make certain dictatorial moves on “day one” of another White House term.

Jones says the rhetoric from Donald Trump and the far-right agenda are dangerous, and he criticized Trump’s Republican rivals for not condemning his rhetoric. He says their silence allows “dangerous ideologies to fester” and “threatens the very institutions that uphold our democracy.”

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Four GOP candidates will be on the debate stage, while Trump holds a fundraiser. Follow live updates