Graham preparing for second-tier debate Thursday

VIDEO: Graham preparing for second-tier debate Thursday

COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC/WIS) - The first debate for the White House will air Thursday night, but South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham won't be a part of the main show.

Instead, he will take part in an earlier debate with a smaller group of candidates.

Graham will join his fellow presidential hopefuls who didn't make the top 10 cut for the prime time debate in Cleveland in a shorter forum four hours earlier on Fox News, in what Graham has nicknamed the "happy hour debate."

Also taking the stage are candidates like former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, all GOP candidates who have scored low in recent opinion polls.

Graham and other candidates have taken to social media praising the earlier forum.

On Facebook and Twitter, the Graham campaign has set up their own hashtag for the happy hour debate, and have taken to calling the main show, which features Republican front runner Donald Trump, a debacle.

But political experts say that doesn't necessarily mean these happy hour candidates don't want to be a part of the big show.

"I think all of them would die to be among those ten," USC's Don Fowler said. "Because, generally speaking, those people are the less well known of the candidates, and they need all of the exposure that they can get."

Even with a second tier debate, there will be very little time for candidates to go in depth on campaign issues since each candidate has 60 seconds to answer, and 30 seconds for rebuttals.

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