Gop Debate Tonight Live

December 10, 2011 by staff 

Gop Debate Tonight LiveGop Debate Tonight Live, The GOP presidential candidates meet tonight for the first of two pivotal debates ahead of the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, as a surging Newt Gingrich leads the field and Mitt Romney goes on the attack.

In a campaign where the debates have recalibrated the race, tonight’s forum in Des Moines and one Thursday in Sioux City have the potential to be important slugfests as candidates make their case to caucusgoers who’ll cast the first votes for a Republican nominee.

The debate airs 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET on ABC News. Yahoo!, the Des Moines Register and ABC’s Iowa affiliate WOI-TV are also co-sponsoring the event with the Iowa GOP.

Instead of the usual eight Republicans, there will only be six candidates onstage at Drake University. Herman Cain suspended his campaign last week and Jon Huntsman did not qualify because of his low standing in the polls.

We’ll be live blogging later in OnPolitics. Here’s our preview of five things to watch:

The former House speaker is the prey and there isn’t a rival who won’t be stalking him. Already, Ron Paul is running a scathing ad charging Gingrich with “serial hypocrisy.” Rick Perry is linking Gingrich (and Romney) to Obama on health care mandates.

Then there’s a newly aggressive Mitt Romney, who has spent much of the year as the presumptive front-runner, only to watch people try to coalesce behind an alternative.

Stumbles by his GOP rivals and strong debate performances have helped fueled Gingrich’s rise. He’s bashed the news media and challenged the premise of questions, which plays well with conservatives. And while he’s known to be mercurial, Gingrich has displayed a level of discipline that he himself admits was sometimes missing when he served in Congress.

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