Despite the fact that 10 leading Republican candidates will take the stage for Wednesday night's main GOP debate, MSNBC's Chris Matthews sees only three viable candidates — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Donald Trump.
Claiming the Democratic Party's race has narrowed to just former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Matthews focused on Republican candidates, stating, "A list that seemed ridiculously long this past summer has shrunk considerably."
Making his case that Cruz is a realistic possibility, MSNBC's elder statesman said, "He, Ted Cruz, hates as well as any Republican in modern history." Though he named Cruz as one of his three candidates most likely to get the Republican nomination, Matthews also stated that if Cruz were to be the GOP candidate "it would be an electoral kiss to Hillary," adding, "America isn't mad enough in either sense of the word mad to go that far."
Noticeably missing from Matthews' list was Ben Carson.
"He strikes me as an 'Iowa candidate,' like Huckabee and Santorum before him," Matthews said of Carson, referring to the two GOP candidates who won the Iowa caucuses in 2008 and 2012, respectively, but failed to secure the party's nomination.
After writing off Cruz's general election viability, Matthews proposed two options for GOP voters, "You've either got to shoot the moon with Trump — and, boy, would that be an exciting proposition — or think you're playing it safe by going with Rubio — the little 'Mr. Firecracker of the bombs-away set.'"
Matthews presented his analysis of the GOP field during the regular "Let Me Finish" segment of his nightly show. Watch the 90 second segment here:
The GOP's third debate is happening tonight on CNBC. Starting with a four-candidate undercard, followed by the main event, featuring the top 10 candidates from the Republican side of the aisle. TheBlaze will have complete coverage of the early debate, as well as the prime-time event.
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