CHICAGO (WLS) -- Former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, in his first local television interview since leaving office, weighed in on the second Democratic debate, saying the two nights are critical for candidates, especially those way down in the polls.
IN fact, for some of those candidates how they do in the debate could make or break their campaigns.
"You've got to show up, don't play defensive, don't play cautious, go for broke," Emanuel said.
Emanuel advised the candidates who are barely registering in the polls to make a splash this time, because it could be their last opportunity.
"You're gonna get max nine minutes, unless you take somebody else's time," he said. "There's gonna be an analysis afterwards, and you want at least 35 seconds on the affirmative side, of that analysis afterward, otherwise you just go into the oblivion."
Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are front runners in Tuesday night's group of 10, but the two progressives hold similar views, allowing others to make their mark, and most importantly make a move in the polls and boost their fundraising.
"The context, the structure, the atmosphere is set up for sparks," said Emanuel.
Emanuel said President Trump's recent attacks on Democratic congressman Elijah Cummings provide the candidates a chance over the next two nights to show voters the alternative a Democrat would offer for 2020.
"Donald Trump is present, you know, he's the 21st candidate," Emanuel said. "He is present in the Democratic primary, very present, and we should be clear about where we're different both in the content of the policy and in the character of the candidate we offer."
The Democratic National Committee has set even more stringent criteria for candidates to qualify for the September debates in Houston, meaning many you will see over the next two nights won't be there. In fact, as of now only seven candidates have met the threshold for polling and fundraising.
That debate will air on ABC.
Rahm Emanuel weighs in on 2nd Democratic debate