Garrett: Trump’s Flirting with a 3rd Party Could Be a ‘Flashpoint at Thursday’s Debate’

‘Trump also continues to flirt with a third party run if he doesn’t win the GOP nomination’

ROSE: “Fourteen Republican presidential contenders will share a stage tonight in New Hampshire. Candidates and their supporters want to raise their profiles before the top 10 gather for Thursday's prime-time debate. Tonight’s event will not include Donald Trump, but we heard a lot from him and his opponents over the weekend. Major Garrett is in Washington tracking the Republican race. Major, good morning.”

GARRETT: “Good morning. Donald Trump has discovered one of the previously unknown fringe benefits of presidential front-runner status. The freedom to call the Sunday shows. That means no fancy suits, no brightly colored ties and no hair spray is required.”

[clip starts]

GARRETT (voice-over): “Donald Trump on the three network Sunday shows.”

TRUMP: “I am preparing, but I prepare by seeing what is going on. I don't have pollsters telling me every move, that I can't say this, I can't say that.”

GARRETT (voice-over): “Is he ready for Thursday’s debate?”

TRUMP: “The poll numbers are very good. People are tired of being ripped off by the world.”

GARRETT (voice-over): “The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll shows Trump leading the GOP field with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush within striking distance. Powerhouse GOP donors David and Charles Koch did not invite Trump to their summer issues conference and fund-raiser. Trump suggested his GOP rivals who were invited might be puppets who had to beg for money, et cetera, from the Koch brothers. While Thursday’s nationally televised debate is the first of the campaign –“

BUSH: “How you doing?”

GARRETT (voice-over): “-- today's forum in New Hampshire could loom large for candidates like Bush who need a solid showing in the first primary. Bush has vowed to be ready to rumble with Trump.”

BUSH: “I’ll have my big boy pants on. I won't be with my little shorts with the knickers on.”

GARRETT (voice-over): “Marco Rubio currently polling in the mid single digits is among a group of Republicans who may not make it into the top ten to compete in Thursday’s primetime debate, unless, of course, they find a way to tap into the excitement Trump has generated.”

RUBIO: “Clearly he has hit on a theme that people are frustrated by, particularly illegal immigration.”

[clip ends]

GARRETT: “Trump yesterday fired a campaign worker for posting racially charged remarks on Facebook about Reverend Al Sharpton’s daughter. Trump also continues to flirt with a third-party run if he doesn’t win the GOP nomination. That could become a flash point at Thursday’s debate.”

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