Next GOP debate puts Fox Business moderators in spotlight

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Analyst: Fox Moderators Probably Won't Pull Punches at GOP Debate

NEW YORK (AP) — Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo, one of the moderators for Tuesday's Republican presidential debate, says that while she wants to help viewers understand the differences between candidates, she's not looking to start brawls.

The fourth GOP debate — and first since a CNBC session left candidates grumbling about the journalists asking questions — takes place Tuesday night in Milwaukee. Bartiromo, FBN's Neil Cavuto and Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Gerard Baker will guide the two-hour discussion starting at 9 p.m. EDT.

SEE MORE: Here's what the rebelling Republican candidates are demanding after the CNBC debate fiasco

It's also an opportunity for the relatively little-noticed business network, which will try to push its coverage in front of as many viewers as possible.

"You want to draw out the differences, but I don't think you need to draw (them) out taking somebody's head off and having a fight," Bartiromo said on Monday. "That does make good television but it's not really helping the viewer."

See takeaways from the third GOP debate:

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GOP Debate - 10/28
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Next GOP debate puts Fox Business moderators in spotlight
BOULDER, CO - OCTOBER 28: Presidential candidates Ohio Governor John Kasich (L-R), Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz (R-TX), New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) pose for a photo at the CNBC Republican Presidential Debate at University of Colorado's Coors Events Center October 28, 2015 in Boulder, Colorado. Fourteen Republican presidential candidates are participating in the third set of Republican presidential debates. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Ben Carson watches as Donald Trump takes the stage during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Ben Carson, right, watches as Donald Trump speaks during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
BOULDER, CO - OCTOBER 28: Presidential candidates Ohio Governor John Kasich (L-R), Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz (R-TX), New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) take the stage at the CNBC Republican Presidential Debate at University of Colorados Coors Events Center October 28, 2015 in Boulder, Colorado. Fourteen Republican presidential candidates are participating in the third set of Republican presidential debates. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate, businesswoman Carly Fiorina speaks during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Jeb Bush, center, stands with Mike Huckabee, left, and Marco Rubio during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Chris Christie, left, and Donald Trump talk during a break in the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Ben Carson, right, watches as Donald Trump speaks during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
John Kasich, left, and Donald Trump, second from right, argue across fellow candidates during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Carly Fiorina, center, speaks as Ben Carson, left, and Ted Cruz look on during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Donald Trump smiles during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Rand Paul, right, speaks as Chris Christie looks on during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Ted Cruz, left, Chris Christie, center, and Rand Paul take the stage during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
Republican presidential candidates, from left, John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, and Rand Paul appear during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
Mike Huckabee speaks during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Marco Rubio, right, and Jeb Bush, argue a point during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
John Kasich makes a point during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
BOULDER, CO - OCTOBER 28: Presidential candidates Ohio Governor John Kasich (L-R), Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz (R-TX), New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) take part in the CNBC Republican Presidential Debate at University of Colorados Coors Events Center October 28, 2015 in Boulder, Colorado. Fourteen Republican presidential candidates are participating in the third set of Republican presidential debates. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Marco Rubio speaks during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Chris Christie makes a point during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
2016 presidential candidates Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, left, Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc., center, and Ben Carson, former neurosurgeon, stand on stage at the start of the Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015. Three Republican senators running for president have come out swinging against a bipartisan budget deal as an emblem of everything that's wrong in Washington, making it a likely pinata in the party's third debate Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Ted Cruz, left, Chris Christie, center, and Rand Paul take the stage during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
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A tone was set from the beginning of the CNBC debate, when candidates were asked to reveal their greatest weakness and moderator John Harwood asked Donald Trump if he was running "a comic-book version of a presidential campaign."

The Republican National Committee reacted by pulling its sponsorship for an upcoming NBC News debate and some campaigns tried to wrest control of the debate process from the committee. There was a backlash, with President Obama wondering how the candidates would be able to face the nation's adversaries if they thought debate moderators were too tough.

SEE MORE: Recap: CNBC GOP debate

Bartiromo said she believed that her former employers at CNBC exhibited a hostility toward and disdain for the candidates. She said it was a useful reminder that the purpose of debates is to educate voters.

She said she wants to talk about the economy and believes the biggest issue for voters on this topic is how to create new jobs.

The debate is designed to focus on economic issues, but Bartiromo said potential presidents must prove themselves adept at addressing a wide range of issues. Questions surrounding Ben Carson's claims of past incidents in his life have been front and center the past few days — leading Carson to strike back at the media — and Bartiromo said Fox won't be reluctant to bring the topic up. She talked to Carson about it on her daily show Monday.

She helped moderate a GOP candidates' debate in 2012, when she was one of CNBC's biggest stars. She expects it will be valuable experience for Tuesday night.

SEE MORE: CNBC sets viewership record with GOP debate

"It helps you to remember that anything can happen," she said. "You have to be able to think on your feet. You have to be able to react to unforeseen comments, unforeseen events."

The previous GOP debates set viewership records for Fox News Channel, CNN and CNBC. That's a virtual certainty Tuesday for FBN, although it would be a surprise if it reached the 14 million who tuned in to CNBC last month.

FBN is available in some 82 million homes in the United States, or a little more than three-quarters of the TV households. FBN will stream the debate online, and is trying to put the debate before a few million more TV viewers by "unbundling" the network. Some service providers, most notably DirecTV, place Fox Business Network on a more expensive programming tier, and FBN is urging those companies to let everyone with basic service see it.

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Follow David Bauder at twitter.com/dbauder. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/david-bauder

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