US Republicans gear up for debate of eight Tuesday

Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson, a retired neursurgeon, has become the focus of intense scrutiny as US media pore over elements of his personal lifeA winnowed crop of eight candidates takes the stage Tuesday for the next Republican US presidential debate, with surging outsider Ben Carson’s tumultuous backstory under the microscope and Jeb Bush fighting for his political life. The showdown in Milwaukee, Wisconsin comes two and a half months before the first state-wide votes in the primary process to determine which Republican and which Democrat will square off in the November 2016 election that determines who succeeds Barack Obama in the White House. Amid pressure to narrow the field for the party’s fourth debate in the series — the race two months ago had bulged to 17 contenders — broadcaster Fox Business Network changed the format from previous Republican clashes, with only eight candidates at the podiums instead of 10.

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