It’s the perfect storm debate. 

An over-crowded field plus a surprise front runner have created intense pressure on all the candidates to stand out and stand up to Donald Trump. 

If tonight’s debate had a theme song, it would have played on trumpets. 

Donald Trump comes into this debate number one in the poll, making him the target or everyone else on the stage. 

That gives the Donald the great opportunity to surprise everyone again: for tonight, less is more. 

He should channel Muhammed Ali, and “float like a butterfly.”

If Trump stays above it all, he will appear – dare I say it? – to be a statesman. 

Polls say former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker are Trump’s two top challengers. 

My advice to them is: Ignore Trump and push your policies. That will keep you out of any mud that’s thrown and show you’re serious. 

Which leaves the other seven, all of whom are well behind the top three. 

They should remember this is just the first debate, not the last. 

They didn’t fall behind in a day, and they’re not going to catch up in a single night. 

They should introduce themselves to voters, and if any of them gets the right opportunity, a direct challenge to Trump will not only make news it may shake up the whole race. 

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