“This second debate, coming less than four months before the first vote in Iowa, is where the rubber hits the road,” Perino said. FOX News host Dana Perino, who will help run Wednesday’s Republican presidential primary debate in Simi Valley, Calif., expects a wide-ranging look at the candidates vying to be the next president.
Perino said that even though FOX Business is holding the discussion, it will be broad and cover a lot of different issues. But she thinks that the economy will be a big part of the conversation, not just because it will be presented by a business network, but because so many important problems are tied to money.
“I think the economy will be a big topic,” Perino told FOX News Digital. “We all know that it’s the biggest worry and concern of the American people.”
“In many ways, the economy is the link between all of these other possible topics, in my opinion,” she said. “For example, if you’re worried about crime, one of the things to think about is, ‘What tools do you have and are you ready to use them to help?’ Or, if you care about education, childcare, or national defense, you need a strong and growing economy to feel like a strong and growing country.
From 9 to 11 p.m. ET, Perino, Stuart Varney of FBN, and Ilia Calderón of UNIVISION will all be moderators at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
She thinks she is ready for anything, but she is especially ready for this group of candidates because she was in the room when FOX News hosts Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier led the first debate last month.
“I had never done that before, because I’m usually on the group that reports on what happened later. But this time, I got to go into the building and watch because I did the peek of the debate,” she said.
“For a lot of people, that was the first time they heard from those candidates or had even heard of those candidates,” Perino said. “I would say that all of them did fine, but nobody had a great breakout moment.” “So, this second debate, which is happening less than four months before the first election in Iowa, is where the rubber hits the road.”
Perino thinks that the candidates are well aware that they need “some sort of breakout moment” on Wednesday night to show that they should be among the main competitors to former President Trump, who is in the lead.
She said, “I think these candidates know that this is their make-or-break moment.”
Since Perino is so close with her FOX News coworkers, she has been planning to co-moderate the debate since before she was even chosen for the job.
“Martha and Bret have been very generous with their time and advice for me,” said Perino. “One of the things I like about being friends with my coworkers is that we always talk about these kinds of things. Even as they were getting ready, I sent them thoughts for questions back and forth.”
Perino said that MacCallum and Baier told her how to keep the candidates in line, and there are rules in place to make sure that people don’t keep stopping the event. Ironically, the former co-host of “The Five” has dealt with that very same problem a lot in the past.
“When ‘The Five’ first started in 2011, we didn’t really know what we were doing. It’s a brand-new kind of show, and there were times when we all started talking at once and talked over each other,” Perino said.
“I remember getting a call from the control room during a commercial break saying that if it kept up, they were going to cancel the show because no one can hear when everyone is talking at once at home,” she said. “The same is true of these individuals. So, it’s in their best interest to get to the point quickly and not go over their allotted time so that everyone can hear what they have to say.
“The Five” got it, and now it’s the most-watched TV news show. It’s not clear if the candidates will follow the same road, but Perino thinks that a good showing in the debates is very important because millions of dollars are spent on ads just to get people’s names out there.
“In this debate, which will last two hours, they have a chance to get free media coverage to reach a much larger audience and make their point,” Perino said. “There’s no way you could buy airtime like this.”
Both FOX Business Network and FOX News Channel will have special live coverage of the second Republican presidential primary discussion.
At 6 p.m. ET, Dagen McDowell and Sean Duffy will host a special two-hour version of “The Bottom Line” as part of FBN’s special live broadcast. At 8 p.m., FBN’s Larry Kudlow will host an hour-long show called “Countdown to the Debate” with a team of commentators, including co-moderators Dana Perino and Stuart Varney, Martha MacCallum, Bret Baier, Sean Hannity, Brit Hume, Harold Ford Jr., Karl Rove, and Kellyanne Conway.
After the two-hour debate, FOX News will air a special episode of “Hannity” at 11 p.m. ET, which will also be shown on FBN. The show will include live coverage of the debate from the spin room and real-time reactions from the candidates in Simi Valley.
“Fox News @ Night” with Trace Gallagher will continue the network’s live coverage from the spin room at midnight EST. The debate will be shown again at 1 a.m. ET.
Several FNC and FBN shows will be broadcast live from Simi Valley all week, including “Varney & Co.” and “Kudlow” on FBN and “Fox & Friends,” “America’s Newsroom,” “The Five,” “Special Report,” “Hannity,” and “FOX News @ Night” on FNC.
FNC’s White House reporter Jacqui Heinrich will report live from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and FNC’s Bill Melugin, FBN’s Madison Alworth, and FBN’s Grady Trimble will report live from the Reagan Library on how people across the country are reacting.
FOX News Digital will also have a live blog on the site of FOXNews.com that will be updated all the time.