Whether the first Republican presidential debate gets contentious will depend on who throws the first stone at front-runner Donald Trump, according to Chuck Todd, moderator of "Meet the Press."
Trump, who is "eclipsing" the competition in national polls, has promised to counter any attacks against him during Thursday’s prime-time debate on Fox News, Chuck Todd pointed out Tuesday on TODAY.
“That’s what he does. But he did say he doesn’t plan on going on the attack first,” he said.
So that will leave it up to some of the candidates who rank toward the bottom of polls to strike first.
“That is an interesting decision that some of the candidates make. I think the ones in the low single digits, they’re incentivized to go after him because they want the moment, they want the TV highlight,” he said.
However, those closely trailing Trump in the polls will probably mind their manners and stick to individual campaign talking points.
“If you’re Jeb Bush or you’re Scott Walker and you’re playing the long game here, you probably don’t want to get into a food fight with him, although my guess is the moderators are going to try to set that up and that to me is going to be the tense moments of the evening, particularly Bush versus Trump,” he said.
Although Fox has determined only the top 10 leading candidates for the Republican nomination will get a podium spot in the debate, Todd says there’s a chance there may be room for one more because of how close polls show some of the hopefuls.
“They don’t like the idea of decimal points deciding 10 and 11, so there's more likely that there will be an 11th podium," Todd said. Currently, that position would probably go to Texas Gov. Rick Perry.