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Poll: Can Christie Compete in Tonight’s GOP Candidate Debate?

The governor is going be onstage with candidates who dwarf even his outsized personality. Can he cut it?

Tonight’s the night: 9 p.m. on Fox News, the first official debate of the GOP presidential hopefuls -- 10 of them together onstage, elbows and sound bites flying, putdowns zinging, all trying to convince Republican viewers that they have what it takes to be top executive of the world’s only superpower.

It’s going to be tough to stand out in this crowd, particularly with supersized personalities like Donald Trump, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, and Ted Cruz. Then again, Gov. Chris Christie has never been a shrinking violet.

How well do you think he’ll do?

  • Great! Christie is the master of connecting with people while delivering his message. He’s a straight talker and that demonstrates leadership. The viewers will eat him up.

  • Pretty well. Like him or not, no one can serve up a sound bite like our governor. And with that many people onstage, this is going to be all about theater. Christie could give Ian McKellen a run for his money.

  • What do you consider a good performance? Is it a matter of standing out from the crowd, a tough trick to pull off given the overinflated personalities on that stage? Is it giving the most thoughtful, informed answers? Or is it simply which candidate polls the best after the debate? No one can win at all three.

  • Christie’s no debater. As long as he controls the venue, the audience, and most of the questions (think “town hall” meeting), he can usually stay out of trouble. For all his avowed ability to think on his feet, Christie can’t really go with the flow -- especially if the flow is going against him.

  • The governor is all confidence and bluster. I’m sure he’s practiced hard, but let’s be serious, he just can’t compete with candidates who try to come across as measured and intelligent. And if he goes with his B game -- belligerence and bullying -- he’s going to make a fool of himself. Christie is a nonstarter on his way to becoming a nonfactor.

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