Candidates Reveal Their Pre-Debate Rituals

by Alicia Lu

We're just hours away from the first Republican primary debate on Thursday evening. At 5 p.m., seven candidates who trailed in the polls will present their stance before the 10 leading candidates take the stage for the main event at 9 p.m. Some have participated in dozens of these debates — or, at the very least, similar speeches, interviews, and campaign events — so, naturally, they've developed certain habits and traditions to help them prepare. In a video made by the website Independent Journal Review, the 2016 Republican candidates reveal their pre-debate rituals that help them get centered and focused. Some of these will surprise (and delight) you.

The video, which was uploaded to YouTube on Thursday just hours before the debates, appears to have been made before Fox News announced its lineup of the 10 candidates who will be partaking in the primetime debate, as it features several of the candidates who will be taking the 5 p.m. stage. That distinction should not matter, however, because the earlier debate will be equally important in shedding light on the GOP candidates' positions.

Or perhaps the candidates featured in the video were chosen because they had the most interesting rituals. Top contenders like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul were not featured because they probably prepare for their debates by staring at the wall or whispering to their ties, or some other ritual that was either too boring or too embarrassing to reveal. Meanwhile, Trump was not featured most likely because he's had zero debate experience and the only ritual he knows involves hair spray and spray tan.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Thankfully, the candidates featured in the video have delightfully endearing rituals that remind us of who they really are first and foremost: humans.

George Pataki

George Pataki's ritual is pretty normal — and smart. Hydrating before a long debate is always a good idea.

Before a debate, I say a little silent prayer and drink a Diet Lemon Snapple iced tea.

Carly Fiorina

Fiorina exercises her mind while indulging in some fun.

I like to be mentally focused, but relaxed, so I play Solitaire.

Lindsey Graham

Making sure to throw in a jab at Donald Trump, Graham shows off his new smartphone in describing his ritual.

I take my new phone, thanks to the Donald, and I listen to Motown to mellow me out.

Scott Walker

Why did I have a feeling Scott Walker was a jogger? There's something about his face that just screams, "I jog because I don't know how to express feelings!"

Before a debate, I go out and run. It's a great way to relax. You can't take any phone calls; you're not reading any emails. You're not looking online, you're just out running, and that clears your mind.

Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush's joke about his mother, Barbara, is pretty adorable.

Before a debate, I normally call my mom to get advice. "Hey mom, I can't say that on television!"

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee's ritual involves strategizing with his team, but it's not who you think.

I got a video from a couple of my very trusted political advisers.

Marco Rubio

It seems like Marco Rubio is kind of confused about how this whole ritual thing works, because asking Siri what the moderators will ask you is not exactly a ritual. In fact, you seem a bit lost on the whole debate process in general, and clearly you don't know how to use Siri.

What is Megyn Kelly going to ask at the Fox News debate?

Ben Carson

As you would expect, Ben Carson's ritual is just as crazy and nonsensical as he is. He might as well sacrifice a chicken before the debate, because this is just creepy.

I take these hundreds of pieces of paper, because they have all the advice that people have given me about what to say during the debate, and light them on fire. I'm gonna be me, so whatever comes out, it's me.

Watch the entire video below.

Images: IJReview/YouTube