DeSantis Responds to Leaked Debate Strategy Memo
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is in the spotlight, but not in the way he might have hoped. A leaked memo detailing debate strategy from a supporting Political Action Committee (PAC), named Never Back Down, has caused quite a stir. DeSantis, however, is keen to distance himself from the controversy. “On the memo, it’s not mine. I haven’t read it,” DeSantis stated during a Fox News interview.
“I know from the military, when you’re over the target, that’s when you’re taking flak. And if you look really in the last six to nine months, I’ve been more attacked than anybody else. Biden, Harris, the media, the left, other Republican candidates,” DeSantis said on Saturday. “And there’s a reason for that, because people know that I’m the biggest threat. So we view it as positive feedback. We’ll be ready to do what we need to do to deliver our message, but we absolutely expect that, and we’ll be ready for it.”
What’s in the Memo?
The leaked memo proposes a specific strategy for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. It recommends he target Vivek Ramaswamy, a former biotech executive, labeling him as “Fake Vivek” or “Vivek the Fake.” However, such an approach might not be advantageous, as Ramaswamy has been gaining traction in the polls. Though he’s currently not viewed as a serious long-term contender, taking him on directly could unintentionally boost his profile and credibility.
Furthermore, the memo seems more interested in creating headline-grabbing drama than discussing policy. It uses the term “orchestra pit moment” suggesting the DeSantis team prioritizes sensationalism over substantive debate. Notably, the memo doesn’t touch on policy matters at all, focusing only on debate tactics. Specifically, it outlines four goals for DeSantis:
- to criticize Joe Biden and the media several times,
- highlight his positive vision,
- confront Vivek Ramaswamy directly, and
- defend Donald Trump, especially if Chris Christie launches an attack on the former president.
Commentator Paul Begala had strong opinions on the leaked memo, referring to it as “the dumbest thing” he’s seen in a while. He took issue with the strategy, pointing out that defending Trump should be a task left to Trump himself. Moreover, Begala believes that the leak complicates things for DeSantis. Any statements he makes during the debate might now be perceived as scripted or disingenuous.
The Road Ahead
As the debate nears, there’s a clear sense that all eyes will be on DeSantis. With the leaked memo making waves, many wonder how it will impact his performance and whether he will follow the suggested strategies. When asked about his plan for the debate, DeSantis was clear: he’s ready to deliver his message, defend himself, and challenge his rivals.
CNN commentator, Paul Begala, found the leaked memo puzzling, describing it as “the dumbest thing I’ve seen in a long time.” He believes it puts DeSantis in a tricky position because people might view his debate responses as scripted.
Regardless of the challenges, DeSantis is pushing forward. He has been actively engaging in traditional grassroots campaigning, recently participating in the Londonderry, New Hampshire’s Old Home Day Parade. He also met with Chris Sununu, New Hampshire’s popular Republican governor. Sununu is optimistic about DeSantis’s chances, stating, “Of course, Gov. DeSantis can turn it around in New Hampshire.”
As the GOP debate approaches, it’s clear that DeSantis is gearing up for the challenge, ready to face rivals, and prove his worth as a presidential candidate. Only time will tell how the leaked memo and recent events will play out on the debate stage.