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BLITZER’S BLOG: At tonight’s debate, what happens in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas
October 18th, 2011
01:35 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: At tonight’s debate, what happens in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas

Las Vegas (CNN) – On the surface, you wouldn't necessarily know that Las Vegas is in deep economic trouble. There are large crowds everywhere on the Strip. The restaurants are full. The casinos are jumping. The shows are great. I was at the gym at the Venetian Hotel at 6 o'clock this morning and it was packed.

But as good as parts of Las Vegas look on the outside, deep problems become obvious when you take a closer look. Nevada has the highest unemployment and home foreclosure rates in the country - with no quick end in sight.

Seven Republican presidential candidates are here for the CNN Western Republican debate tonight. I have no doubt Nevada's problems will be on the agenda, because they are also the nation's major problems right now: How do we create jobs and jump-start the U.S. economy?

The seven candidates will be eager to go after President Obama and his jobs creation record. That won't be a surprise. What will be interesting is how far they will be willing to go after each other on the specifics.

I will be especially interested to see how willing Mitt Romney, for example, will be to reject Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax reform plan. If you believe in the national polls, Romney and Cain are now the two front-runners for the nomination.

I also want to see if Rick Perry can make a comeback after some unimpressive debate performances. He released his energy plan last week and did brief interviews on five morning television shows. He didn't make any major gaffes. Let's see how he does tonight.

Michele Bachmann needs to stand out tonight; otherwise, she will continue to dwindle in the polls.

Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum are all strong debaters. Based on my most recent conversations with them leading up to tonight, they are all ready to go - full speed ahead.

In short, it will be lively on the Las Vegas Strip tonight. And at the debate, what happens in Vegas won't stay in Vegas. The whole world will be watching on CNN.

Programming note: GOP presidential candidates next face off at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, October 18, in the CNN Western Republican Presidential Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada. Submit your questions for the debate here.

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Filed under: 2012 election • Debates • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Dave

    All I hear is cut, cut, cut. Cut taxes (on the rich of course), cut programs that help people and this will create prosperity. When will these people figure out they could have zero taxes on the rich, excuse me, the "job creators", and they will NOT create jobs without demand and demand will only occur when the middle class has money to spend. Trickle down does not work, we have tried it for 30+ years now and do you see the vast prosperity promised?

    Give the middle class a break and they will spend, trickle up will occur and the rich will of course get richer. Trickle UP not trickle down is worth trying but this republican crowd will never believe it, rather get rich up front and to hell with the rest of the people, the future and the country. So long America, it was a nice ride while it lasted.
    The founders talked at length of the American experiment not knowing if it would succeed or not. We are about to find out.

    October 26, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  2. sharida

    If theUSA can change the features of any American to make him look like let us say Muhammad Atta, send him out to hijack a plane or to kill the Saudi Embassador then the real Muhammad Atta would be jailed, the American imposter would have his face returned to him and the Muslims would be defeated each one. Like in the case of the Iranians maybe?

    October 19, 2011 at 7:01 am |
  3. M.A.

    Jobs. How many of you go to work every day not really inspired. Or, but rather are working your job out of necessity to pay for enormous health care costs, housing, food, utilities, fuel to get to your place of employment. Lots of people aren't inspired. We are fed a constant continual diet of argument and struggles for power and control at each of our expense. At any cost! It is a steady diet of ego-driven foolish bickering. Wanting it all. Every ounce of it. Call it an acquired taste....constantly fed soundbites and promises that sound good on the surface later proving bitter and spoiled.

    I don't know what to do...I don't know what to do. Too many choices none of which is particularly appealing. Too busy in a hurry. Can't think. Compromising originality and creativity for conformity.

    Let me tell you this. You are paid to think! Your decisions need not be made for you. To be and to be original and free. Are we really free. Free to listen to laundry lists of promises and fighting to gain position. Depressed thinking that things and political choices are going to bring about prosperity. The crux of the matter is that all this foolery expecting prosperity isn't going to work and it hasn't worked. Defunct, deficient, insignificant.

    We have become a commodity on the auction block subjected to power-brokering by warring factions that do not know how to build and nurture but instead only know how to destroy. And "win" by almost any means. Lying, cheating, exploitation and having no common purpose has always failed and will continue to do so.

    All I hear is more more more. Do more with less.... Less IS more! The smaller we are the bigger we become. The bigger we believe ourselves to be, power is diminished. Politics can't change "the world". The world around us will change when we do. The book of love. Page 1) Love one another. End.

    So much unnecessary misery.....

    October 18, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
  4. PAT

    I'm amazed at how little all candidates know about previous administrations. The canonization of Ronald Reagan ignores known facts. Come on folks, do your homework.

    October 18, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
  5. ED FL

    this was the worst debate ever and it belongs to the inadquacy of CNN. the candidates ran the debate not the moderator. Loks like a junior high school operation,

    October 18, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
  6. RottenToast

    ROTFLMAO WOLF! I couldn't even read the analysis, my head was shaking too hard from laughing at the witty headline. OMFG! Such the comedian, Wolf!

    October 18, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
  7. JonahBC1111

    A Canadian's 2 cents........The Pizza boy & the guy from Texas are just plan arrogant. The Mormon dude is not to bad. The old guy well he has some of the best ideas... but he also has some of the worst. I can see the lady could be just plain crazy to some... and well the other guy he is just trying way to hard.... xxoo Canada

    October 18, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
  8. augustghost

    Another round of" who can lie the best".....they are a pathetic lot

    October 18, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
  9. Len Smith

    Why ask him anything, as he will change it in a week. He has had the kookiest ideas about what government is all about. He needs to go back and read about Washington, Hamilton and what governement is for and how it works. See Thomas Jefferson, See Teddy Roosevelt, See Franklin Roosevelt, See Lincoln and Truman, Clinton. et al.

    October 18, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
  10. kevinM

    So, we ARE in Vegas....Any bets the trend continues and Dr. Ron Paul gets the LEAST amount of talking time, and the most questions DESIGNED to take substance out of a Candidate?? He's got a great plan, and can spend the whole time explaining to Americans his share for their concerns and offer REAL solutions to combat them for us and our children if he were elected President. Hopefully, ONE of these storied journalists can spend some time of Value with Dr. Paul, if not, then we can only Pray he gets noticed for his work eventually. Please research his Plan online before you post anything contrasting that, like most of our debate hosts, lack any substance! Go Dr. Paul!!!!

    October 18, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
  11. descarado

    Next week, a former Baskin Robbins ice cream scooper visits Las Vegas to promote his "Stimulus Lite" jobs bill. The same ice cream scooper who never published ONE SINGLE article during his twelve year tenure as a professor of Constitutional Law. The same ice cream scooper who voted "present" almost without exception as a Senator. The same ice cream scooper who created that trillion dollar Frankenstein zombie of mismatched body parts called Obamacare! I live in Vegas and I hope that clueless fool doesn't decide to stay here.

    October 18, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Bill in Florida

      Not to worry. With Faux loonies like you around, the President will male a hasty exit once he continues to hammer home the fact that the Party of No has obstructed everything he has tried to do for the past 33 months.

      October 18, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
  12. open400

    It is fitting the GOP has its debate in Las Vagas. The GOP believe we should deregulatiion Wall Street again and go back to the Wall Street casino running the country. If the big gamblers on Wall Street lose, they get their bail out. I fthey win, then it is their profit and soemone else's responsibility to pay the taxes.

    October 18, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  13. kman02

    Sin City...A suitable venue for a republican debate.

    October 18, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  14. m ferran

    seriously, these are the choices??? these seven people, each with enormous gaps in their inteligence, these are what you republicans are going to choose from??!! these pepole are better than barack obama??!! you can't really believe that deep down in your hearts, can you??!! it tests the limits of my incredulity!

    October 18, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  15. frank

    Presidential candidates should not be permitted to discuss their religious beliefs. That is a private matter.

    October 18, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  16. David

    None of the seven have a plan to "jump-start" the economy like the one that Obama sent to Congress. ALL the republicans have are basically the same eliminate obamacare, government regulations, taxes on the rich and drill for gas and oil. Even Cains 999 or Paul eliminating five departments and adding a million or more federal workers to the unemployed lines, will not create American jobs for 3-5 years. Contrary to what you think Wolf – the whole world will not be watching CNN – many of us will be watching NCIS.

    October 18, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • Patrick Lee

      Here's a jump start for you David. Ron Paul is the only one with enough spine to talk about ending the wars, reducing the military industrial complex and returning freedom to Americans, while Obama has started several new conflicts in the middle east and the genocide against Black Africans, who are Qaddhafi loyalists.

      October 18, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
  17. Rich

    Wolf I think America needs to look at what jobs need to be created vs what jobs are being created. These folks running for president are talking a lot about what is wrong but they are not talking a whole lot about how to fix it. Even Cain with his 999 plan does nothing to address the 3 wars going on right now and the excessive spending in government. He thinks if you tax everyone 9 percent then that fixes everything and it doesn't. It sounds good but it does little for the jobs going overseas. It is no guarantee of job creation in America and that is where his voters come from. Lowering a businesses taxes to 9 percent does not guarantee they will hire anyone in America. A smart business man would use that money to hire the cheaper labor in another country and then bring the product to the closest buyer. If you do not address the government regulation and the excessive cost of doing business in America then your not addressing the real problem.

    October 18, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  18. Clint, Wa.

    Maybe what happens in Vegas tonight should stay in Vegas so they can get a real look at reality, then maybe they will be willing to do something to help this country and America.

    October 18, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  19. Jim Thomas

    Take religion out of the picture and get down to the nitty gritty and lets find out how much real business experience they all have.Political science does NOT cut the mustard any more.No business experience and/or military experience means they should not be elected.We have enough stupidity in our gov. now to last for many decades so we donot need more.Jim Thomas Phx.Az.

    October 18, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  20. Jared

    Thank you JohnG. We continue to see a man presenting some real solutions and he continues to be ignored by the media. I continue to look at Ron Paul as the stand out candidate. Wolf I appreciate the interviews and time you have given to Dr Paul but I believe that the support he has in the upcoming primary is much greater than what is being represented by mainstream news. This is creating a great deal of discontent with many people. We feel we are being lied to by our president, congress and our news sources. No wonder we have Occupy Wallstreet and these protests going on a global scale. Tell the truth and give those who really want to get us out of the status quo a chance to be heard. If this doesnt happen we will start looking for our news elsewhere and yall will eventually be out of a job. Thank you Wolf.

    October 18, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  21. RogerE

    Instead of asking how do we create jobs to jump-start the U.S. economy, how about we ask, what jobs do we need? How many teachers, police, doctors, dentists, etcetera. Fund them properly and structure the economy around necessary and productive jobs first. The last thing we need is worthless and unproductive jobs that will not last.

    October 18, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Nam Vet

      One job the country does not need is a Republican in the White House.

      October 18, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • DRJ

      Yes this is all good, but one problem: Teachers, Doctors and Dentists require an extensive education that is becoming so expensive that many are not willing to become $150K + in debt to get there. There needs to be reform on how we do things in this country. Education is so important to a progressive country, it needs to be made available to more people at a more reasonable price. In my opinion if more become educated, there will be more that will be innovative and these people will help create more jobs and more services.

      October 18, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  22. william ford

    with all do respect to ALL Americans, you spend TOO MUCH time electing and re-electing, or put simply, you have an election system that is OUT of CONTROL!
    Your system has created instability, not checks and balances.
    from the office of the president, to the senate, house of representatives , to the supreme court and now the federal reserve and i will not include the military, but Eisenhower before he left office in the late 1950's warned the American people of the growing military complex, I see a fracturing of a country that was once the world's savoiur.

    October 18, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • RogerE

      I agree. The whole nomination process with debate after debate is a complete joke in the 21st century. It may have worked and been necessary before radio, TV, and the internet, but not now. This creates the need to raise millions of dollars that just line the pockets TV stations and advertising agencies.

      October 18, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • Bigdawg

      I can't argue with you there! We're in perpetual reelection mode, 24/7, 365!

      October 18, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  23. rkusa

    Re: Situation Room today. Thanks Mr. Blitzer for doing something so few interviewers do. You countered a spokesperson/pundits comments with facts. I'm speaking of when Alex Castellanos was talking about the debt Obama has run up, ignoring Bush's even higher culpability. His response that Obama was down in the polls was a priceless misdirection after being corrected. I wish more interviewers would correct pundits and interviewees instead of letting comments go unchallenged. Isn't that part of your collective job, ferreting out the truth? Please, more of that (and I don't mean just with Republicans, but everyone).

    October 18, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  24. Ryan

    Drastic out of control budgets cause for drastic measures. Dr. Paul release his plan to restore America yesterday and would balance the budget in three years during his own term, not pushing the burden out 10 or 20 years to someone else. He's serious about fixing the problems because he understands – and predicted many of them. He has received literally the least amount of time to speak in prior debates combined with Romney receiving the most. Please give him some time and don't ask ridiculous questions.

    October 18, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  25. Constance Lee

    Obviously, you are already planning to attack Mitt Romney's religion by asking Herman Cain as to whether or not Mitt Romney is a Christian. What a cheap shot! Romney held a 30 minute press conference in the last election to clarify his religious belief, in which he publicly stated "I am a born-again Christian and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. I believe the Bible to be the Word of God." WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT?

    Obama says he is NOT a Muslim and you are quick to defend him, saying he is a Christian - where is the same respect for Mitt Romney who went to lengths to explain his religious faith and as a born again Christian myself - I BELIEVE HIM!

    Don't forget Orin Hatch is one of the most highly respected Senators and he too is a Mormon. Has he harmed the White House? NO!!!

    October 18, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Born Again

      We assualt Mormons who provide $$$ to things like the Red Cross and Natural Disasters the World, Had its members provide millions of dollars in CA to defeat Propostion 8 and stand on the conservative side of pretty much every issue of the republican party stands on but quickly forget the raciest and un-christian acts of Mr. Obama's minister Mr. Wright (I refurse to call him a Revren because that is a sacred title held for a man that acts and conducts his life after the God he represents) or RIck Perry's minister that acts not like Christ instead of trying bring "mormon's" to his fold calls them a cult because they believe different than he does.

      I would rather judge a man/religion by the acts to those not of their faith than what some ill educated preacher says.

      October 18, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • descarado

      A man who attended Jeremiah Wright's church of hatred for 25 years without walking out with his family is considered to be a Christian? Really?

      October 18, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
  26. dan in albuquerque

    He's unique and interesting, but so far removed from reality it's downright scary. There's no way he would ever be president.

    October 18, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  27. JohnG

    Hopefully Ron Paul's budget will be discussed. He has a plan laid out that balances the budget in 3 years. PLEASE ask him more than 4 questions!

    October 18, 2011 at 2:46 pm |

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