Saturday, December 10, 2011

Go big or go home: The Drake debate

At 9 p.m. eastern time (6 p.m. Pacific) the moderators, ABC News’ Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopolus, will kick off the only broadcast network debate in prime-time before the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary —the formal start of the madness of the primary season.

Tonight’s GOP presidential candidates debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, promises to be some kind of watershed for six of the seven remaining contenders for the nomination.

There’s a slow acclimation of opinion that this run for the roses is coming down to two people: Mitt Romney, stump-speech mannequin, philosophical shape-shifter and former Massachusetts governor; and Newt Gingrich, the presumptive conservative prefrontal cortex, Tiffany’s supershopper and former Speaker of the House.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul, the darling of the libertarian sub-wing of the GOP, has lately been showing strength in recent surveys; tonight could be a breakthrough.

But for the others, their performance tonight will be the pivot point — the time to go big or go home. For Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the walking non sequitur and former frontrunner; Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, the daffy Joan of Arc manqué; and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (whose relative earnestness hasn’t gained him any traction in the polls), tonight’s crucial for making the case for staying in a race they’re statistically out of.

For politics junkies, tonight’s proceedings should be at least as entertaining as the others, and with Gingrich as the new anointed frontrunner, probably more. It’s just the thing for live blogging. Thanks to the Cover It Live live stream platform, I’ll be live-blogging the event tonight starting at 6 o’clock Pacific time. Feel free to jump in with your reactions and comments.

Image credit: Gingrich and Romney: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton,

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