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Who Else Besides Joe Biden Might Crash The Debate?

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 12/10/2015 Lauren Weber

This week, from the Wynn Las Vegas Casino Hotel, CNN will televise the first Democratic debate of the primary season. The news channel's guru, Jeff Zucker, has a problem here: Unlike the fractious, bumptious, eminently televisable Republican mess that garnered huge ratings for the network, the Democratic debate features two front-runners who won't fight one another, along with a handful of little-known candidates whose first priority is make the sort of generically good impression that could propel them to the mid-single digits in the polls.

But you need some spice on the Strip. So where is it? Where's the zazz? Well, Zucker -- who's more of a showman than a newsman -- has hit upon an interesting idea. Rather than set strict candidate criteria that would exclude participants, he's created something of an open-door policy for the debate, hoping to include even more contenders.

Now, of course, we all know why CNN has created this policy: There's one potential candidate, lingering right at the edge of jumping into the race, whom they'd dearly love to have behind a lectern reserved especially for him.

But this is Vegas, kids. You never know who might stumble in off the Strip to roll the dice. On this week's First To Last, we rate eight special guests who could crash CNN's party.

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RANKCANDIDATE
1

JOE BIDEN

The specter of Joe Biden looms large. What's to say he can't show and decide 15 minutes in that he's officially running?

2

ELIZABETH WARREN

Before Biden was the media’s hoped-for Hillary foil, there was the Massachusetts senator. If she shows up with Joe, that’s the dream, right?

3

LAWRENCE LESSIG

“Intellectually provocative Harvard Law professor” doesn’t sound like the description of zazz. But he hates Big Money in politics, so let’s audit his class.

4

JIM WEBB

We’re actually not entirely sure he remembers he’s running? We keep having this vision of Webb showing up five minutes late, with a load of loose paper and an apology stuck in his throat. He may need Zucker to leave the door ajar!

5

JIM GILMORE

He hasn’t been able to get on teevee yet as a Republican, so maybe a temporary party switch might get him in the game.

6

DONALD TRUMP

Do you think CNN would turn him away? Hell, they’d probably let Trump call in to the debate.

7

BILL CLINTON

Maybe he's gunning for that VP spot, after all. Regardless, the atmosphere would be ripe for a cameo.

8

STEVE WYNN

It is his casino after all, and he is a Democrat, sort of.

Photos: Getty, Associated Press

ATHENA IMAGE © Paul Morigi via Getty Images ATHENA IMAGE

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