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First US Presidential Debate: What Will They Say Next?

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The 2016 Republican Party U.S. presidential candidates.
The 2016 Republican Party U.S. presidential candidates.

Seventeen people are officially competing for the Republican Party nomination for president this year. That is the highest number of candidates in at least 100 years.

But only 10 of them will be permitted to participate in the first Republican presidential debate this week. On August 6, the 10 candidates with the most public support will argue issues and politics in front of a live audience. The event will be broadcast on television as it happens. It will be the first of 11 debates planned through next March.

Fox News and Facebook organized the event. They say the debate stage cannot hold all the Republican Party candidates.

Fox says the 10 debaters will be announced on Tuesday at 5 p.m. They will be chosen based on an average of the five most recent national public opinion studies that "Fox News" recognizes.

The Wall Street Journal newspaper and NBC television completed one recently that placed billionaire businessman Donald Trump in the lead.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker came next followed by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, retired surgeon Ben Carson and Texas Senator Ted Cruz in that order. Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was number six followed by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. In eighth place was Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

The study showed three candidates competing for the 9th and 10th positions. They are New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Texas Governor Rick Perry and Ohio Governor John Kasich.

"I Don't Debate. I Build"

Political observers say most of the audience will watch the debate to see Donald Trump. "The Donald," as some call him, is known for his strong opinions and often controversial statements.

Mr. Trump spoke about the debates this Sunday on the ABC news show, "This Week."

"These politicians -- I always say, they're all talk, no action. They debate all the time. They go out and they debate every night. I don't debate. I build," said Mr. Trump, who made part of his fortune in real estate.

Mr. Trump also insults his opponents. He has accused former Texas Governor Rick Perry of wearing glasses to make himself look smarter. And he called Senator Lindsey Graham, another Republican candidate, an idiot.

Observers say the other candidates will likely try to ignore Mr. Trump. They will try to communicate their own messages instead.

But they will not have many chances. The entire debate is just two hours long. Each candidate will be able to speak to their national audience for only about nine minutes.

And what about the candidates who do not have enough support to appear? They have been invited to a shorter, 5pm debate before the main event. Senator Graham has called it the "happy hour" debate.

I'm Bob Doughty.

VOA's Molly McKitterick reported this story from Washington. Kelly Jean Kelly wrote it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Words in This Story

controversial - adj. relating to or causing much discussion, disagreement, or argument

real estate - n. the business of selling land and buildings

idiot - n. a very stupid or foolish person

happy hour - n. a time at a bar when drinks are sold at a lower price than usual

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