Memo Offers Unusual Peek at DeSantis Debate Strategy

He's advised to defend Trump and instead attack Ramaswamy, reports 'New York Times'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2023 11:52 AM CDT
DeSantis Advised to Attack 'Fake Vivek,' Not Trump
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a campaign event on May 31 in Salix, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

The New York Times got its hands on a rare insiders' memo about Ron DeSantis' debate strategy next week. To be clear, the memo isn't from the Florida governor's campaign, but from a company linked to Never Back Down, the main super PAC supporting him. The Times explains that particular pathway—the end-around may have something to do with a law that prohibits super PACs from privately strategizing with a candidate—but the interesting stuff is in the specific advice:

  • Trump: DeSantis is urged to defend Donald Trump and, in fact, to go after Chris Christie when the latter inevitably attacks the former president. Instead, DeSantis should praise Trump but say he would surely be too busy defending himself in court to properly run a nation.

  • Vivek: Instead of attacking Trump, the memo says DeSantis should go after rising underdog Vivek Ramaswamy with a Trump-esque nickname such as "Fake Vivek" or "Vivek the Fake."
  • Biden: DeSantis should attack President Biden and the media "3-5 times" during the debate, per the memo, which is no longer posted online but can be read via the Times here. It adds that DeSantis should boast of his own "positive vision 2-3 times."
(More Ron DeSantis 2024 stories.)

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