The GOP is readying for their last debate to close out 2015. Following the tragic San Bernardino shooting, this event offers a much needed look at how presidential hopefuls plan to deal with such crises if elected. What channel is the Republican debate on? CNN will once again be throwing the event, having previously played host to a GOP and a Democratic debate this year. The debate will take place on Tuesday at the Venetian in Las Vegas. Wolf Blitzer will serve as the primary moderator and will be joined by two returning moderators. Fellow CNN journalist Dana Bash and conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt will also be asking candidates questions about hot button issues such as national security and foreign policy.
What's particularly notable about the fifth GOP debate is the fact that it almost didn't include the most popular Republican candidate. Front-runner Donald Trump had previously stated that he was contemplating boycotting the debate. Trump's reasoning? That the network was unfairly covering his campaign, treating him poorly, and refusing to compensate him for his alleged boost to ratings. Instead, he proposed that the network donate $5 million to charity as some type of faux appearance fee for having him on the fifth debate. After CNN President Jeff Zucker's vehement veto, Trump eventually decided to give up the ransom and plans to appear anyway.
The podium lineup has yet to be released for the CNN debate, though Trump is expected to once again take center stage. CNN's criteria calls for a candidate to be polling at an average of 4 percent to make it into the main debate. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul appears to be the only candidate on the bubble and may not make it into the main debate. The current list of candidates who could easily clear that benchmark includes Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Carlie Fiorina, and John Kasich.
Paul would be the 9th candidate if he were to maintain 4 percent or more between Oct. 29 and Dec. 13 at 5 p.m. Candidates who have averaged at least 1 percent popularity will be relegated to the second debate to be held earlier that day. CNN recognizes myriad of polls — from its own to Quinnipiac University's. As with their previous two debates, it's expected that CNN will make streaming available for free online for all to enjoy what promises to be an exciting GOP matchup.