CNN/Salem Media, who host the second clash at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley Calif tonight at 6 and 8, want to get the candidates to engage with one another in person and on camera
Very different from the Fox News debate, which relied on three moderators to ask tough questions. "Let's draw the contrasts between the candidates, and have them fight it out over these policies," said Jake Tapper, CNN's chief Washington correspondent, who is moderating.
"Our whole approach is sparking a debate," said Dana Bash, CNN's chief political correspondent, who, along with radio host Hugh Hewitt, will also be onstage asking questions. "Let the debate be a debate."
"Jake Tapper is going to do whatever he can to get the candidates to go after each other," said a strategist advising one of the candidates. "If somebody is knocked out, CNN will be happy. In the first debate, the moderators controlled the candidates; in this debate, the candidates will have to moderate themselves."
TRN reports unlike the first debate, the stage tonight is intimate, with an audience of roughly 400, sitting just feet from the candidates. And CNN will ask the audience not to cheer or boo during the actual debate.