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Right, so that headline isn’t just a play on President Obama’s own successful campaign buzzwords — it also describes the aspirations of some high-profile conservative players prior to Wednesday’s GOP debate. There could be a point yet when Donald Trump is obliged to cede some ground to his competitors, and the evening’s big event just might hold out that possibility.

That’s still a highly conditional setup, so let’s consult some analysts to sound off about the GOP huddle that’s about to happen in Southern California’s Simi Valley at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Center for Public Affair, shall we? Take it away, Sabrina Siddiqui of The Guardian:

While a glance at polling conducted in recent weeks might reflect Trump as formidable or retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson as on the rise, political observers have longed [sic] viewed the race for the Republican nomination as a battle predominantly between a triumvirate of candidates: former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Florida senator Marco Rubio and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.

[…] “Rubio is better suited than any other candidate to be standing when the dust settles because he’s everyone’s second choice,” Republican pollster Frank Luntz told the Guardian. “The most important polling question right now is ‘Would you consider voting for Candidate X?’ More than 80% of the GOP electorate would consider voting for Rubio – more than any other candidate.”

In other words, those presidential hopefuls maintaining a low profile at this stage of the election cycle might still break through to capture the nomination.

Moving on: Here’s Alicia Parlapiano to serve up some statistical data, via The New York Times, about how the candidates’ fortunes have shifted since the paper checked in last with its 2016 primary scoreboard:

Although Jeb Bush has maintained a lead in recent months, with a top showing in the prediction markets and the most endorsements and money, the lead is not a dominant one. Most top Republicans — like members of Congress and governors — have held back from endorsing candidates. And of course Mr. Bush is not leading in the early polls; Donald Trump and Ben Carson are ahead, and John Kasich is proving to be a big challenge in New Hampshire.

Endorsements and the fund-raising picture haven’t changed much in recent weeks, but the other categories have:

[…] Mr. Bush has maintained his wide lead in the prediction markets, hovering at slightly above a one-in-three chance of winning the nomination based on bets made by traders. Marco Rubio, Mr. Trump and Mr. Carson have made single-digit percentage-point gains, partly at the expense of Scott Walker. Mr. Walker’s chances have fallen the most, to 8 percent from 20 percent.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post whipped up a meme-ready roundup of one-liners to offer each debater a customized tip on how to play up his or her strengths most effectively:

And of course, check back on Truthdig for columns and clips about Wednesday’s proceedings.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

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