NBC News correspondent Dasha Burns speaks ahead of Wednesday’s debate

Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 7:59 PM CDT
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SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (KMOT/KFYR) - The political focus Wednesday night is on Simi Valley, California, for the second GOP Presidential Debate.

Wednesday is a pivotal moment for Gov. Doug Burgum, R-ND, and his campaign, along with the other candidates who are taking the stage in the debate.

Joe Skurzewski spoke with NBC News correspondent Dasha Burns about what she’s expecting from the candidates, and what Burgum has to do to make his mark.

Here’s some of their conversation.

JOE: What are a few things you’re looking for in tonight’s debate?

BURNS: Well, I’m looking to see how the candidates engage with each other. Last time we saw a lot of fire thrown around and we did see the debate have some impact, right?

The needle did move, it didn’t do much to cut into former president Trump’s lead, but you saw Nikki Haley pop, you saw Vivek Ramaswamy just get more attention after his performance last time around.

JOE: What does [Burgum] have to do tonight to move the needle with the American people?

BURNS: Well, for someone like Burgum, because he struggled to qualify for this one, this could, potentially, be the make-or-break moment.

He might not qualify for the next debate if he doesn’t really do something special here. Last time he actually got a lot of attention because of that injury that he had. And he, you know, showed a lot of stamina, a lot of strength, makin’ it through, but this time around he has to find a way in.

JOE: Do you think the moderators can do anything to maybe, you know, reel it in a little more, and make sure that everybody’s getting to talk?

BURNS: It’s tough for moderators, it’s tough for candidates, but that is the reality. And you know what, when you are president, you’re gonna have to deal with the hecklers, you’re gonna have to deal with distractors, and in some ways might be a challenge that, you know, is an opportunity to show how they can handle themselves under that pressure.

The debate begins at 8 p.m. CT / 6 p.m. PT.

Joe and Michael Anthony will bring us live reactions to the debate Wednesday night.