Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is bracing himself for potential attacks during the GOP’s first debate in the 2024 presidential race. A campaign memo, authored by campaign manager James Uthmeier, outlines DeSantis’ preparation for the debate stage. The memo asserts that the Republican primary is primarily between DeSantis and former President Donald Trump, although Trump is not expected to participate in the debate.
The memo acknowledges that DeSantis’ campaign is ready to handle false accusations from other candidates and the media, given that the debate presents an opportunity for his rivals to gain attention by targeting him. The debate is set to take place in Milwaukee.
An earlier strategy memo from a super PAC called Never Back Down, supporting DeSantis, had surfaced, suggesting tactics for the debate. It advised DeSantis to confront entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and defend against potential attacks from former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The memo also contained recommendations on addressing President Joe Biden and the media.
Ken Cuccinelli, founder of the Never Back Down super PAC, admitted that sharing the memo was a mistake. He stated that DeSantis is not as widely known as Donald Trump, and as such, strategizing for him differs.
DeSantis responded to the super PAC’s strategy by stating that he hadn’t reviewed it and that it wouldn’t influence his approach. He expressed his commitment to speaking the truth and focusing on his vision to counter Joe Biden’s policies and revitalize the American Dream.
In contrast to the super PAC’s suggestions, DeSantis’ campaign memo emphasizes his intention to present his vision for beating Joe Biden and restoring the country’s promise. The memo highlights DeSantis’ background as a fighter who served in Iraq after 9/11, a father focused on future generations, and a champion of freedom against leftist opposition.
DeSantis acknowledged that he expects to face significant scrutiny on the debate stage, considering his prominent position in the race. He views these attacks as a testament to his strength.
As the debate approaches, Republican candidates seeking the White House have been intensively studying their rivals’ records. Particularly, they are scrutinizing how DeSantis governed in Florida and voted during his time in Congress. Many candidates aim to differentiate themselves and introduce their platforms to a broader television audience during the debate.