At 8pm EDT eight candidates will take the stage in Tampa as the race for the GOP nomination starts to heat up. Each of the candidates hope to advance their campaigns tonight in their own way:
Michele Bachman- She wants to be heard. At the last debate she was drowned out by the Romney-Perry battle and even Ron Paul seemed to get more attention than her. She has downsized her campaign to focus soley on Iowa, but if she does win the caucuses she will need a national presence to claim the spot of the “anti-Romney.”
Herman Cain- The Georgia business man has remained in the mid to high single digits since his breakout performance in the first debate in May. He does stand a chance of becoming a strong anti-establishment figure in the campaign, especially if Michele Bachman fumbles or continues to fade.
Newt Gingrich- The former Speaker’s campaign has been moribund since June when nearly his entire staff resigned en masse over the direction of the campaign. Though he is a crowd pleaser he is really going to need to shine in order to pick up support.
Jon Huntsman – The former ambassador did quite well in the last debate, yet still faces uphill climb as a moderate seeking votes in a very conservative electorate. He hopes to make his case to voters in states like New Hampshire where independents can also vote in primary elections.
Rick Perry- He’s currently the front runner and he looks to solidify his status in this debate. A big issue will be his comments during the last debate in which he called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme.” He received a sharp rebuke from Mitt Romney, who said that Perry’s stance makes him unsuitable for the general election.
Ron Paul- Ron Paul will continue to try to engage the other candidates, hoping for a repeat of his tussle with Rick Perry over Reagan’s legacy. He will take any opportunity he gets to draw attention to his campaign.
Mitt Romney- Romney was the former front runner and during the last debate he hit Rick Perry hard on Social Security and job creation. He will try to appear as the reformer of the program while portraying Perry as a radical who wants to throw granny off a cliff. Florida does have a high elderly population and this issue may have a strong impact in that key state.
Rick Santorum- Santorum has yet to rise above being a third tier candidate and its hard to see how he breaks out unless pretty much every other candidate, with the exception of Romney and Huntsman, implodes.
So we’ll see how this goes…
Posted by Max Viscio