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Tipsheet

DeSantis Shrugs Off Leaked Debate Memo, Says He Is Ready to Throw Punches at GOP Opponents on Stage

AP Photo/Charles Krupa

2024 GOP presidential candidate Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla) denounced the leaked memo from a pro-DeSantis super PAC suggesting he will use it if needed at this week’s first Republican presidential nomination debate. 

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“On the memo, it’s not mine. I haven’t read it,” DeSantis said during an interview with Fox News. “It’s just something we have and put off to the side.”

The document instructs DeSantis to take a "sledgehammer" to the rising GOP candidate and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and to call him "Fake Vivek" or "Vivek the Fake.”

A recent Emerson College poll found that DeSantis and Ramaswamy are tied at ten percent, trailing Trump, who leads with 56 percent.

It also advises the governor to defend former President Trump— who will not be in attendance— if former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie attacks him. 

DeSantis’s campaign argued that “every candidate on and off the debate stage will have their knives out for Ron DeSantis” during the first 2024 debate, which is being held in Wisconsin. 

DeSantis has tried to change his campaign strategy as his once-promising poll numbers sink to single digits, which has caused weeks of harmful media coverage spotlighting his campaign’s overspending, staff layoffs, and change of leadership. 

“I know from the military when you’re over the target, that’s when you’re taking flak. And if you look really in the last six to nine months, I’ve been more attacked than anybody else. Biden, Harris, the media, the left, other Republican candidates,” DeSantis said. 

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The governor argued that he is the biggest threat to his GOP opponents, saying he is “ready to do what we need to do to deliver our message.”

DeSantis, however, said that he is fully prepared to throw punches at his rivals on the debate stage, arguing he will defend himself against attacks from his opponents. 

On Saturday, DeSantis appeared at a popular New Hampshire Parade with the state’s Republican Gov. Chris Sununu. 

New Hampshire and Iowa are the two states that kick off the GOP nominating calendars and are critical for DeSantis to close the large gap with Trump.

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