FrumForum will be hosting a livechat tonight while we watch CNN’s GOP debate in New Hampshire. This debate will feature three candidates who will be debating for the first time in this cycle: Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich.
Here are some of the key things to watch for:
Will Everyone Gang Up on Romney? Romney maintains a steady lead in polling among GOP candidates, with Gallup reporting that support for him as “increased significantly” to 24 percent, up from 17 percent. Romney’s healthcare law is disliked by the conservative establishment and its similarities to the President’s own healthcare law led Tim Pawlenty to refer to it as “Obamneycare” on Sunday. Pawlenty has said he won’t use that term in the debate so maybe another candidate will step up to the plate.
Will The Sideshows Dominate the Debate? Many of the third-tier GOP candidates lack real seriousness. Here are some of the sideshows we can expect to see: Ron Paul raving about the Gold Standard, Herman Cain elaborating on his recent comments that Obama was raised in Kenya and Newt Gingrich trying to justify his presence on the stage despite losing his entire senior staff.
It will be in the interests of the debate’s moderators to stop the sideshows from dominating the night.
Where Do You Stand on the Ryan Plan? As long as unemployment remains high, any Republican could be competitive against Obama in a general election. One thing that could undermine this is Paul Ryan’s budget which helped the Democrats to pick up a seat in NY-26. The GOP candidates will be pressed on where they stand on Ryan’s budget and on reforming Medicare. It will be important to note which candidates say, “I would sign the Ryan plan into law” and which ones say, “Ryan is a courageous and inspirational figure, and I plan to release my own Medicare plan soon.”