1) Not live blogging tonight. The Patriots will be taking some of my attention away and so will the US Open match if it continues on past this 3rd set (edit: it has). Plus CNN is great at being bad at hosting things, so I’m not all that excited about this debate.
2) Another debate will take place in 10 days, on Fox News. The network asked very tough questions last time around, and Chris Wallace will be moderating again so that should be interesting.
3) What I expect to see from each candidate:
Bachmann – Must revive campaign by either hitting Perry from the right or launching a surprise SocSec defense from the middle (before Romney has the chance to [clearly] stake his own ground on the issue). Probably should hit from the right on immigration.
Gingrich – Must show he can go one debate without complaining about the moderators ~_~
Paul – Must not come off as a crazy person again.
Cain – Must make sure to wear pants. As long as he does, his performance scarcely matters.
Santorum – Must hit hard about foreign policy and domestic policy (no social issues) and must do so with controlled assertiveness instead of his usual pseudo-whining.
Huntsman – Must continue to inject himself into the debate as the (ex) governor with the best jobs record of not only those on the stage but in the entire nation. Every time he brings this up it’s not only good to brag about but it effortlessly contrasts him against Romney/Perry and elevates him to their level. In short: Must continue to gain relevance.
Romney – Must be able to both keep his cool and counter Perry’s attacks. It’s not an easy tightrope to walk. He’ll have to prove he can do it if he wants to prove that he’ll be able to effectively take on Obama.
Perry – Must not screw up. Must provide enough soundbites to continue to be the topic of conversation over the next 10 days. Must also prove that he can be aggressive without being brash. Another tough tightrope to walk.
Overall – The Perry v. Romney dynamic again will dominate the debate and discussion of. Hopefully Huntsman or Bachmann or even Santorum breaks through the static, but I doubt it. If Romney and Perry start seriously punching each other then there is an avenue for Huntsman to appear like the best last man standing at the end of the night.
4) Tweet from David Corn “More fun to watch the CNN director pumping up the crowd on live feed than CNN’s pregame analysis on network.”
Pretty much. Debate starting in a few seconds. Prepare for some horrible moderation and questions.