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How to Stream the Second GOP Debates Online: Links

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Staff prepare for the second Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, on September 16. Lucy Nicholson/REUTERS

This time, in order to watch the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night, you can just click here.

For the second in a series of debates between Republican presidential contenders, CNN will temporarily nix the login requirement for its streaming site. Those without a cable TV subscription can also view the debate on their computer by going to the front page of CNN’s website or by using the company’s mobile app.

The first Republican debate, on Fox News August 6, drew in a record 24 million viewers, according to Nielsen. That’s more than most sporting events not called “The Super Bowl.” (Game 6 of the NBA Finals got about 23 million.) But many potential viewers were left out when Fox News Channel made the event unavailable for free Internet streaming (Internet users also needed a cable subscription to watch). Fox even pulled a Sky News live stream off YouTube in the midst of the proceedings.

With the event available for free, the cable network’s content department won’t need to comb YouTube for contraband streams.

The main debate will air at 8 p.m. ET, with 11 Republican candidates squaring off in front of Air Force One at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. Front-runners Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Jeb Bush will join all the other candidates who have polled nationally at 3 percent or who have appeared in the top 10 in an average of the polls.

The 6 p.m. “undercard” debate will feature candidates with at least 1 percent of votes in national polls. Former CEO Carly Fiorina made the leap to the main stage on the strength of her undercard performance in August.

In Wednesday night’s debate, which will focus on foreign policy, lagging candidates like Scott Walker will try to wrest the media’s attention away from Trump. The surging Ben Carson, now in second place in the polls, will attempt to consolidate his new momentum, while Fiorina may attack Trump over his criticism of her face.

It’s going to be a crowded main stage for moderators Jake Tapper, CNN political correspondent Dana Bash and conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt to manage.

On the CNN program Reliable Sources on Sunday, Tapper said that he wants to get the candidates to actually debate against each other rather than reciting sound bites. He also anticipates being attacked as a “straw man” representing the media, noting on the same program that “Republicans often take issue with the media writ large.”

Hewitt may grill Trump on foreign policy. In a radio appearance on Hewitt’s show September 3, Trump confused the Kurds with the Quds force, a radical arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, in a discussion about the Middle East. Trump, an outspoken opponent of the Iranian nuclear deal, later accused the host of asking “gotcha” questions.

But if he presses the mogul on international issues, Hewitt runs the risk of getting the same treatment as Fox News host Megyn Kelly after the last debate. Kelly asked Trump a question about his past comments about women, and the candidate went on a rampage against her the next day.

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