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BLITZER’S BLOG: Why tonight’s debate is must-see TV
January 19th, 2012
03:08 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: Why tonight’s debate is must-see TV

By Wolf Blitzer, CNN

Charleston, South Carolina (CNN) – Here are a few things I will be looking for in Thursday night’s CNN Southern Republican Presidential Debate:

The four remaining candidates have been beating up on each other in recent days. Will they have the guts to blast their opponents when they are standing right next to them?

Rick Santorum, whom I interviewed Thursday in Charleston, has had an ad running that says Mitt Romney is “just like Obama.” He refers to Romney’s support for health care mandates in Massachusetts. Will Santorum look Romney in the eyes and repeat that line Thursday night?

Newt Gingrich told me in Iowa that he doesn’t think he could vote for Ron Paul if the Texas congressman were to win the GOP nomination. He cites Paul’s national security policies. Will Gingrich be prepared to go that far in the debate?

Is Romney going to announce that he’s ready to release his income tax returns now - as opposed to in April, as he suggested earlier this week? Even strong supporter New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he should be completely transparent.

Will the issue of Gingrich’s three marriages be a major issue? The reported comments by his second wife that he once wanted an “open marriage” have certainly generated a lot of commotion. Let’s see how the former House speaker handles that controversy and what his rivals say.

The many debates during this election cycle have been so important in this contest. Gingrich is surging in South Carolina now in part because of his strong performance in Monday night’s debate. Thursday night’s CNN debate will be must-see TV.

Tune in Thursday at 8 p.m. ET for the CNN/Southern Republican Presidential Debate hosted by John King and follow it on Twitter at #CNNDebate. For real-time coverage of the South Carolina primary, go to CNNPolitics.com or to the CNN apps or CNN mobile web site.

Follow Wolf Blitzer on Twitter: @WolfBlitzerCNN

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Filed under: 2012 election • Debates • Republicans • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. Robert Silver

    Any chance that these candidates will be asked if they as yet believe that Man is contributing to global warming if they even accept that? Any chance of them being asked if they believe that humans are part of an evolutionary process and that the planet is some 4 billion years old?

    January 26, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  2. peter oliphant

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE ask the following question of the GOP candidates:

    "what does the separation of church-and-state mean to you... and should any law ever be based primary on the beliefs of a particular religion?"

    January 24, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  3. David

    I've listened to several of the debates and have yet heard a real challange from any newscaster regarding the true nature of the Immigraton Issue. Most of the candidates are suggesting that illegals wanting to legalize their status should either voluntarily go back to their country of origin, get in line and apply for legal status behind those that are applying legally. The reality is, no one is going to voluntarily go back to their country and apply in this manner because there are only so many Visas allowed for each country and applications for these Visas are all backlogged several years. Especially in Mexico's case. To apply legally the way these politicions are suggesting would take several lifetimes to get into this country legally. Someone needs to bring this to the attention of these hypocrites in the next debate. Also, on the case of this so called Keystone Pipeline, someone ought to do a little research on how much of the Alaskan Pipeline gas is actually being used/sold in the U.S. and how much is accually/truthfully being sold/diverted to other countries. I understand that most of that gas/oil is being shipped/sold to other countries and we're really getting screwed as usual by the oil companies. This should also be brought up on the next debate. P.S. Don't let the candidates intimidate you Wolf. GO GET THEM WOLF!!!

    January 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  4. mike

    Wolf, you can't nor any other news person can. You cant't tell the truth, who is carl rove,ask: richard elsworth, ck out watergate? there are powers that keep you in check. so we dont get the truth- newt kicked out of senate,romney?? who took his share of $. washington d.c. is a great hoard of snakes, if ONLY you could speak truth without this country going into revolt!!!!.

    January 24, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Jackie Yates

      I think Romney needs to clarify his accusations against the Speaker. Gingrich did not resign until 2 yrs. after the ethics investigation, which was a witch hunt because he was cleared of all 84 charges. Romney is being as usual ingenious. He probably knows this more than most.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  5. Dallas

    PLEASE WOLF, ask every politician in Washington if they would run for office making minimal wage. Do a poll. They waste millions running for office, money that is not theirs. They take lucrative vacations, fund wealthy parties, live away from delegated states and make more than half of all Americans. They make more in stocks and investments than majority of Americans. America's choice 2012. For every American that makes minimal wage or unemployed needs answers from Washington. Step up CNN.

    January 23, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Charles

      Wolf,
      you are a good journalist, and I respect you tremendously, but your segment on the upcoming State of the Union seemed a little one sided (just my opinion). We all know that President Obama is not the complete and only cause of this country's woes and disfunctions. The republicans want to place it all on President Obama's shoulders. This president has edured more than any president in my lifetime. He has also been subject to more disrespect,from opponents, journalist and more. RESPECT THE OFFICE, even if we don't like who is there at the time. This nasty Partison fighting has nearly destroyed this country and the reputation of Democracy.

      January 23, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  6. manny oliver

    GOP sounds more and more like the WWE we know its all fake, Over overexposure can can kill voters interest, it like like the energy rabbit it keeps on going and going with no end and no winner..

    January 20, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  7. Jim

    I found Newts angry response to tonights first question interesting. I believe that one of the core things Americans want in any President is honesty and good values. I believe the open "marriage issue", as well as his response to it, shows his values as questionable,.

    January 20, 2012 at 1:49 am |
    • Stef

      I agree with your comments - Also, I've noticed he goes viciously on the attack (in this case directed towards John King) when he doesn't want to truthfully answer a question. Even a question he KNEW was coming and had time to prepare for. People who support him seem to just get distracted by ugly so easily. And his comment that ABC didn't want to talk to his friends - there's his side, her side, and what really happened.....were his friends there in person when this happened? I bet not. No one knows what really happens inside a marriage. Hid friends have zero credibility as concerns this issue.

      January 20, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  8. Jim

    I found it interesting tonight how easily Newt bashed the entire goverment, making comments about how no one should trust goverment. Correct me if I am wrong, but hasn't he been part of the goverment for some time? So, should we not trust him? Hhmmm....

    January 20, 2012 at 1:42 am |
  9. Tam

    Aren't all the candidates wealthy? Some more than others, but still wealthier that most of us. So Romney is wealthy. He didn't blow his inheritance. The others are also accomplished. I worry about their character.

    January 19, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  10. Carol Zess

    I am hoping that someone smarter then me is fact checking the answers of the candidates. I have been doing just that and found at least 14 that was abjectly wrong.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  11. Bob Lawrence

    John King is a moderator not a lackey. He needs to show some agressiveness and not allow Newt Gingrich to overrun him. Gingrich is a racist and a bigot and he never has anything positive to say. If these candidates are all the Republicans have to offer they need to go into hibernation until November and quit embaressing themselves. I am thankful for the on/off switch.
    Bob Lawrence
    Fremont, CA

    January 19, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  12. phil, georgia

    They are not answering the questions!!! Mitt, in two debates hasn't exactly answered where the jobs come from. How many individually did dominoes, steel companies, footlocker, exc. Create. And then newt bullies John about his former wife which is a legitamite character issue.

    January 19, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  13. Stephen R. Ganns

    Newt was Speaker when Citibank and Travelers Insurance, et. al. merged in violation of the Bank Act of 1956, which led to the Grahm-Leach sponsored bill which effectively led to removing the safeguards and "too big to fail". Additionally,
    OTC derivatives were adjudicated not be regulated. The Speaker was involved in many of these issues. Many economists and historians credit this with allowing the economy to tank. No one has asked the Speaker what his involvement was in these pivotal issues.

    January 19, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  14. j. davis

    I ask you, Would you want a president that didnt know how to make money or run a business so it would be profitable?
    Profitable businesses are the ones that employ people, and contribute to the society, and are the tax base of this country.
    I want to know there are smart business people out there making a good profit because if they are not the business will not make it in this horrible economy.
    we have enough small business closing down and 99% of those will never come back...Get smart and vote for the man who has proved he can help businesses or you may be looking for a job yourself...

    January 19, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  15. James Tate

    Please ask each candidate what their exit strategy is for Afghanistan?

    And please remember, the short answer will make the 10 o'clock news.

    January 19, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  16. Mike

    Gingrich is as scary as they come. He'd nuke any country that pissed him off without flinching. Romney is...well...an out of touch rich guy. And Santorum? Jesus would slap him for the things he thinks are decent Christian values. If you don't want WW3, nuclear holocaust or a holy war, vote for Ron Paul.

    January 19, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • M. Jamal

      We are waiting for any debate moderator to ask the candidates to comment on their stance toward the constitutional separation of church and state. Is their obsessive public identification of their personal religious affiliations because religion has somehow become a "character" issue? Is that view in any way problematic when it comes to seeking the Presidency of a such a religiously diverse nation as the USA? It seems OK to bring up the constitution when it comes to guns and free speech, but what about religion?

      January 20, 2012 at 6:32 am |
  17. Andy

    This should not be a beauty contest. This "debate" should have questions which enable the candidates to advocate their positions on issues affecting the country. Of course we are also interested in the candidates' moral character and political experience. However, that will come out in the candidates' answers without any teasing out by the questioners. The questioners should confine themselves to bringing up national and international issues.

    January 19, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  18. Greg

    Why does the media keep ignoring ron paul? And please don't say "because he's unelectable", thats bull.

    January 19, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  19. marita

    I hope, equal time is given to Dr. Paul tonight, he is the only candidate I trust!!

    January 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  20. RinosRwinos

    Gingrich got two kisses of death in the same day. He got endorsed by Perry and promised Palin a role in his government. Adios Gingrich.

    January 19, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Jim

      I completely agree. Palin is about as scary as it gets..

      January 20, 2012 at 1:50 am |
    • David

      I completely agree! When he mentioned Sara Palin, I crossed him off my list and the fact Rick Perry endorses him is even worse! I live in Texas and you don't want Perry near your government! He has screwed Texas royally!

      January 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  21. Jim Rolf

    If your goal is to get better viewership, your strategy is probably good. If, however, you feel a desire to help South Carolinians choose a nominee, the better strategy would be to allow the candidates to show their strengths instead of pointing out an opponent's weakness. We'll see which direction you choose (as if I didn't already know).

    January 19, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  22. Reality

    What I'd like to see out of the debates is ones who are -not- Ron Paul act like adults and stay focused on actual worthwhile issues instead of the crap they peddle for truth.

    January 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  23. Ron WPAFB

    Oh, and by the way, I haven't watch yet and not to night. It's not like CNN won't repeat it ALL DAY LONG tomorrow. That's why I don't watch CNN anymore. There are more intelligent Humans on the Big Bag Theory! I will vote next November, I always do! I can make buy own mind up, the day before, I can't watch two years of CNN's repetitive propaganda!

    January 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  24. John Kennedy

    What i want to hear from the candidates is jobs, tax reform, curbing illegal immigration, and a America first attitude!
    Their past family life is of no National interest and only an attempt by the media to throw mud in the political arena.
    I will be watching cnn's debate hoping it will be about the issues and not about divorce, what religion a candidate follows, or who their grannies first crush was!!!!! Hears my take, if its more hogwash, cnn will be erased from myTV's dial forever!! I've already ereased msnbc for their obama or nothing attitede!!

    January 19, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  25. CoJo

    why are there so many engineers unemployed??? Obviously they have degrees. I bet a lot have masters or better. Go ahead tell me why they are unemployed? And then explain to the college kids why they ought to study engineering (or math or sciences).... I won't believe any politician when they say they know how fix the unemployment until ALL engineers that want jobs have them. And as for H1B1, that should be zero until that condition is filled.

    January 19, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • David

      Yes your right! All H1B1 did was allow these companies to bring in people from overseas to take American Jobs! Supposedly there aren't any people here that are smart enough to do the job. Of course, the people they bring in have no benefits nor do they get paid as much!

      January 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  26. DT

    It should be interesting to see how all FOUR do (Romney, Santorum and Ginrich).

    January 19, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  27. joesmith

    all you want to see blitzer,is that your boy Adelsons' boy, newt, doesn't waist that $5 million on some stupid gaff..you guys must think everyone just rolled out from a rock..too bad Paul will again tell it like it is, and spoil your party..

    January 19, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  28. Beverly Sparkman

    I wish you would cover how the Indiana Republican's are pushing Right To Work for minimum wage! But as for tonight I would like to know how Newt Gingrich gets around his past with the moral majority and his questionable business practices just by smart aleck remarks! It seems like he intimidates everyone, he is my worst nightmare!

    January 19, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • David

      WHAT? You didn't hear Rick Perry forgive him?

      January 20, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  29. gesmith48

    The candidates need to answer the question posed to them...rather than turning the question into a weapon to use against another candidate. Few debates I have see reveal candidates that actually respond directly to the question asked. They just do NOT answer the question....guess they are true politicians.

    January 19, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Jim

      Absolutely correct. I have watched all the debates so far, and I am utterly dissappointed in how the candidates are behaving. They act like a group of 6th graders trying to fight in the playground. Very dissappointing!!

      January 20, 2012 at 1:53 am |
  30. shyboy69

    Wolf and company are looking to damage Republicans beyond repair so that Obama can coast to an easy victory.

    January 19, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Bill

      Great accusations but no facts! What exactly is he doing you don't like?

      January 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  31. CoJo

    Which candidate is more willing to execute an unconditional strike against Iran? As everyone knows, other countries would join in on both sides, thus starting WW III. Santorum seems to hate the people in Iran and the middle east sooo much , he comes across like he WILL start WW III ...

    Which candidate is more willing to force everyone to his religous beliefs and ban all others.?

    January 19, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  32. sal e

    Please Wolf, can you just make sure that they answer the questions, It seems that every time a question is ask they seem to change the subject or move to attack Obama. Let's hope you can keep them FOCUS and get real answers.

    January 19, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  33. CoJo

    here's a contradiction: The republicans want the states to make their own decisions. Ok, assume that is true. If Nebraska does not want that gas line through its state, why are the Washington republicans trying to force it? If this was a business decision, I certainly would not start a project until the entire design is on the table and agreed upon. As all business people know, changes are costly. If a state does not want to deal with possible long term problems why force them? I certainly wish reporters would challenge comments from all candidates. The best challenges so far have come from Meet the Press. The rest come across as if they want to hurt the candidate feels.

    January 19, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  34. steve

    Gee Wolf, you forgot to be interested in what Ron Paul might say. Or was that intentional? Or maybe you know what he will say since he doesn't change his beliefs depending on which way the political winds are blowing. If he were getting divorced more often or hiding money in the Caymans to avoid taxes would that make him more newsworthy as a presidential candidate in your opinion?

    January 19, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  35. John M

    Ask them how they felt when they realised there was no WMD in Iraq.

    January 19, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Bill

      Hmmm! You think they cared? Nope just needed to start a war for no real reason; only imagined reasons!

      January 20, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  36. Don

    I'm looking to see how little attention is paid to Ron Paul, except to give the other candidates something to copy and to have again asked for the trillionth time: will you consider a 3rd party run.

    January 19, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • hilo, hawaii

      Thank You! I just scanned the headines and was trrying to find out if Paul had dropped out.
      Why does the media ignore him?
      It's just plain wierd at this point.

      January 19, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Joseph

      Exactly! Couldn't agree more.

      January 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Mark

      Don, he gets more than enough media time – and he has stated clearly and often that he is NOT running as an independent, period – he doesn't even like being asked that question repeatedly.

      January 19, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Bill

      I suspect his SuperPAC isn't paying enough to get him attention!

      January 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  37. wassim

    how can you support the rich that far? you became the so corrupt channel in the world. so far right now, Ron Paul is getting second. I don't ever see you talking about him any more. you are talking just about whose paying less tax than any body, or who cheating in his wife, and defending them even, how corrupt people like those can came up to race!!. you think pres. Obama can change the economy in 3 years. the loss of jobs going now is the result of what George W. Bush did, of course you know that clearly, but you are still going with this country to what is worse. where United State can go any more if any crap president came up. you are supporting whom going to serve richness!!, where are you going with this? are you really Americans. unfortunately, this country won't be number one any more.

    January 19, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  38. SlammoFandango

    Can you just ask them what they can do as President which a President actually can do as President. You and others can ask them about their personal lives another time. If there is any dirt to be revealed, it isn't going to show up in a debate. Ask about their platforms.

    January 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Dave, CA

      They HAVE no platforms. This is the party of NO remember? Any workable solutions that there may have been in America's best interest has already been shot down in favor of making President Obama fail. The GOP is already on record admitting that their elections come FIRST and America, American jobs, American health is a distant, VERY distant second.

      January 19, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
      • Tom

        Right on Dave! More time and money has been spent to discredit anything Obama has ever accomplished! These guys running on the Republican ticket are really the WORST of the bunch I have ever seen. Its alarming how they conduct themselves! I don't understand why anyone would vote for someone on the merits of these debates. More time was spent running down the other and no actual facts about who they are came out! Makes me wonder when I see finger pointing like this. I think it is usually because you want everyone to look at the other guy's deeds instead of your own!

        January 20, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  39. cad

    Wolf, could you PLEASE ask some important questions? For example... how would Rick or any of the other canidates be different from all of the Presidents before them... instead of accepting his statement, "I can beat Obama" or "it's all about making sure Obama doesn't get re-elected". Is it really about making sure that someone doesn't get re-elected or is it about solving the many problems we have? I've benn involved since 1971, and it seems like it's the same old crap every election!

    January 19, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • GoP

      Yes, it is precisely about making sure Obama is not re-elected. Speaker Boehner specifically stated that this past Congress had the one goal of ensuring that Obama was a one-term President. The actions of this Congress could not have been clearer; they have worked almost exclusively to achieve that goal.

      January 19, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • SouthTexan

      Great point. All we get is strategy highlights. This isn't a game, we are picking a President. Wolf ask questions on how they will be a better president AND MAKE THEM GIVE AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION ASKED.

      January 19, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  40. john_willow

    While Santorum was shooting off his mouth about Massachusetts health care, you might have reminded him that 2 out of 3 adults and 79% of doctors in Massachusetts support the current state plan. This article shows why: reuters.com/article/2011/12/02/us-campaign-romney-healthcare-newspro-idUSTRE7B10U020111202. The issues surrounding health care are too complex for a huckster and simpleton like Santorum to comprehend.

    January 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  41. KBNJ

    Blitzer's a great newsman and not a bad guy, but I have to say it's hard to watch the liberal media pontificating about Conservative debates and telling us what to look for. What I think we should look for is honesty, intelligence, leadership and REAL Conservative values. Blowing our grand kids' taxes on 1/2 the world's military spending is NOT, I repeat NOT Conservative! Bailing out banks and allowing 1/2 of Americans to pay NO Federal taxes is also NOT Conservative.

    January 19, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • Mark

      LMAO, Look CNN is NOT a liberal anything – have you not read Bennet's columns? or has the right wing simple gone that far right? I read all the op ed pieces – some are left like Carville some right like a Bennett or Frum – but this silly, and very simpleton idea of a "liberal media" is so cliche and boring. And what would you call FOX?

      January 19, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  42. Pat

    Has everyone forgotten that Mitt saved the Olympics for the US after it was bogged down in greed, dishonesty and in danger of failing just like the United States is now?? Why is no one even looking into that? Who else has the experience to rescue the economy of the United States?
    Thank you.

    January 19, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Tania Donovan

      Perhaps because the Mitt Campaign knows that there are people out there who know Mitt's true role in the Olympics and a report that explains how only three weeks after his stint as CEO, conveniently announced his run for Governor in MA. All strategically planned? long relationship with people like the Bush family? Coincidence? I think NOT.

      January 19, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Paul

      There is no solid proof that he "saved" the Olympics. There IS solid proof, however, that as the head of Bain, he lead to the loss of thousands of jobs. The gains he is claiming happened years after he left Bain.

      January 19, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • northern lite

      Wow..you deserve a gold medal for bringing up that charade !!

      January 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  43. Ames IA

    Romney has successfully run his campaign from a bubble very tightly controlled by his campaign. Until the last weeks his opponents have each cut themselves before piercing his sphere. Tonight we see if he can survive on his own without that protection. First the question was "Was Bain really good business background?" Pile on dodgy taxes, offshore accounts and he starts to sound like the hedge fund managers starting to come under indictment. Then he adds the self inflicted wound of calling $375,000 in income from public speaking as "not very much" – hardly a way to connect with the 99% that make less than that in a year.

    January 19, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  44. Barry G.

    Well I'm looking for the tax returns of all of the candidates (both parties) and of all of our senators and representatives, so we can learn how they amassed their vast fortunes and from which lobbyists they took what money.

    Every decent American should demand this.

    January 19, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  45. keeroc15

    the republicans have it narrowed down to 3 unelectable idiots and unelectable Ron Paul. Huntsman was the only one who could have appealed to a broad enough perspective of voters to have had any chance.

    January 19, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Paul

      Please explain PRECICSELY why Dr Paul is "unelectable" . Or are you just parroting what you hear on the news?

      January 19, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • j. davis

      this is your opinion!

      January 19, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  46. Griff

    "If this was an English election, then I think I'de want Ron Paul as Prime Minister, Mitt Romney as Chancellor, Gringrich as Foreign Secretary, and this fourth guy as Home Secretary. That's where I think they can do the most input."

    January 19, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  47. Carl

    So in other words, this is going to yet again be a "debate" where the liberal media do their best to get the Republican candidates to tear each other apart for our entertainment. We probably won't see anything of substance regarding their stances on any actual issues of importance to the voters...just a free-for-all of personal attacks. For the life of me, I can't understand why the Republicans would want to continue having their debates moderated by those who want them all to lose to the Democrat candidate. Why not just have Jerry Springer "moderate"?

    January 19, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • john

      I assume that you would rather have Fox ask 'rhetorical' questions like they usually do. Some one needs to ask these 'candidates" if they have any actual ideas as opposed to the same old broken record of reducing taxes (never HAS worked) and refusing to raise enough revenue to pay back the deficit that theeir party created.

      January 19, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Mark

      Carl, there we go again with this empty headed, cliched "liberal media", but you speak of media in the collective tense, does that include FOX? Politco? be specific. Even on CNN I can choose liberal op eds like Carville or the right like Frum. So just how far right do you have to go to appease Carl??

      January 19, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  48. GNR_RNR

    Romney will get the GOP nomination, but Obama will get re-elected. Whether that should happen can be debated from now until November 6th, but I would be very, very surprised if that doesn't happen. Even if a lot of people aren't happy with Obama, there are too many people who would vote for him over a Republican.

    January 19, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  49. DixiesBabe

    I consider it mandatory for absolute public access of all candidates tax returns, past and present, in order to be considered for election in any level of public office particularly the Executive Branch.

    January 19, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  50. John

    Is that really what you are looking for in the debate, Wolf? How about an honest, open and informative discussion of the candidates' positions on important issues, so that the electorate can make an informed decision?

    January 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  51. Leigh

    Pop the corn and get comfy, the Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth begins promptly at 8PM tonight on CNN. Don't miss it!

    January 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  52. Rick

    The truth would be just too much to ask I guess...

    January 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  53. Daniels

    Although I am a rational liberally minded person, and enjoy debates from sane minded people, I could really care less about what any of these candidates have to say. Its the same old conservative run-around. They are fighting on how much more one hates Obama than the other. Doesn't sound like a debate to me...

    Conservatives must move away from this centrist Evangelical faction within their party. The religious backbone conservatives will eventually die off, then they are left with hopefully a more moderate majority of free thinkers. This party is stuck in the 19th century of hell, fire, and brimestone; one of them certainly has the intelligence to understand that this cant carry on.....but oh well who knows.....fear and control politics is losing its ground...

    January 19, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  54. Stef

    Why are none of you famous pundits talking about how wrong it is that EIGHT PRECINCTS worth of votes are "lost" and that they apparently don't matter? What happened to "every vote matters"? IT MATTERS. Not to who won or who is running, but what about the process? How were they lost? How can anyone declare a winner in any situation without all the votes? And you guys just pass it over, I guess because it IS the past. IT MATTERS. This whole thing stinks bigtime of dead fish and entrails.

    January 19, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Stef

      And I'm a Democrat. VOTES MATTER.

      January 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Darla

      Agree Stef, How are Americans suppose to TRUST the voting process when we can't even get through the first Iowa vote.

      January 19, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Mark

      But Stef, they DID cover it earlier, it it may well come up tonight. Obviously Rick is happy and Mittens is evading it and even pretending it doesn't really matter (and it does). But stop blaming the media for their failures to even run their own primary properly.

      January 19, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
      • Jim

        I agree that this is absolutely an issue. We've seen questionable shady things in the past related to voting. Things like this continue to send the message to voters that perhaps ALL our votes don't matter. Mark, I hope you are right and that this issue is investigated and those votes found and officially counted, but I suspect this issue will fade into the background. Lets hope I'm wrong.

        January 20, 2012 at 2:00 am |
      • Stef

        Mark, I know they "covered" it, but I didn't hear any of them address the issue of how very wrong this is, except Rachel Maddow yesterday in a short segment. No one connected to the organization has explained the missing precincts, other than they are just missing (that I've heard). How did they get the first count, then, which agreed with CNN's count (after their charming discussions with the two precinct ladies). How can they get away with this? What would the count have been if they'd used the original missing precinct counts (which they had)? If anyone has some other information or links, I'd appreciate it. I still think this stinks.

        January 20, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  55. Daniel in Denver

    Thank you, Wolf. Without your impartial guidance, how would I ever know what I must and mustn't see?

    January 19, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  56. michele reynolds

    will debate be on cnn international as well? In Mexico!

    January 19, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  57. Kit Gainer

    The Republican Party is young energetic hopeful and loves Ron Paul.

    January 19, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Mark

      No, te GOp is old tired, has very few visions of the future, and only some support Paul

      January 19, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  58. Risky

    I think there should be a law that prohibits vulgar dumb people from voting. Hold private screenings or something before letting them submit a ballot. At least then our future leaders wont be determined by people that don't know what they're talking about. I'm tired of hearing southern hicks yelling "they dun take mah jawb! Where dem promises you sayd?"

    January 19, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  59. DC Observer

    Gingrich has hinted at discrediting Romney's Mormon religion - but it seems that Gingrich is the one practicing Plygamy

    January 19, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  60. DC Observer

    On the arrogance of Gingrich – he asked Santorum to quit the race -- Santorum has beaten Gingrich in both contests so far and 90% + of voters have rejected Gingrich. Of the 4 remaining candidates Gingrich has come in DEAD LAST in both iowa and New Hampshire

    January 19, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  61. Hesham nazmy

    Wondering why Romney is paying only 15% income tax. Is it because he is clever? Is it because the IRS don't know what he should be paying? Can any one explain why?

    January 19, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Mark

      It's been widely reported and not hard to find. That is the effective tax rate for him; dont just blame Mittens, blame a 75,000+ page tax code that tilts in his favor

      January 19, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
      • Stef

        And also blame a probably 100% bipartisan vote by our gigantic, worthless committees up there. Except, of course, when it comes to looking out for themselves.

        January 20, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  62. Kraken Attack

    Here's hoping that Colbert will show up...I mean *cough* Herman Cain.

    January 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  63. Zvi

    If you are going to ask Newt about his proposal to his Ex – Maryanne for an "open Marriage" and I were to advise him I would say: " Look, every wife is a Mistress. – 1 hour "Miss" and 23 hours "Stress".
    I say it not as joke , or to belittle women but to demonstrate to you how a president who is constantly under tension can easily diffuse such a situation.

    January 19, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  64. NMJune

    I'm not looking for candidates tonight to "blast their opponents when they are standing right next to them". This is about selecting a candidate to be President of the United States, Commander in Chief. I'm looking to hear candidates' plans, how they will fulfill those plans, to see who has a genuine awareness of the current plight of America and its citizens. I'd like to hear moderators avoid "baiting for ratings" and lead the debate into something productive and informative for viewers.

    This is not cage fighting nor is it about how clever and confrontational the moderators can be.

    January 19, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Stef

      I bet you were disappointed. I was.

      January 20, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  65. Henry Miller

    Wishy-Washy Willard, the Political Chameleon...

    Sanctimonious Santorum, who's apparently running for the office of Ayatollah of the United States...

    Newt the Hoot, who I wouldn't trust with a loaded paint-ball gun...

    Leaving the only guy of the lot who is truly qualified to be President: Ron Paul.

    January 19, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Mark

      Tin Foil Pail? i mean since you think your clever and want to insult the others, it is only fitting the same standard be applied to Ron

      January 19, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  66. jparker77

    I wonder if it will be more like a blood thirsty gladiator battle? Let him die! YAY!!! thunderous applause... Obama has failed america! thunderous applause... Obamacare is killing our country! thunderous applause... Whats new? Obama 2012

    January 19, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  67. Billy in Louisiana

    I'm just interested in seeing which candidate talks about himself more than the other candidate. All rhetoric without substance shows that the candidate really has nothing much to offer, that's why Bachmann left early. Her campaign message was nothing but "beat Barack Obama", well ok, How? .....silence.......

    January 19, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  68. Michael Armstrong Sr. Sherman Tx.

    I have a question for Gov. Romney . What are your thoughts about polygamy and do you think Warren Jeffs has been judged fairly ?

    January 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  69. A registered Democrat voter

    I and a Democrat voter, however, I enjoy watching the GOP Presidential debates. Lets hope President Obama has Hillary Clinton as his running mate ( Biden is an idiot), I am a Democratic register voter , so far I like Newt Gingrich , he makes more sense compared to the rest of the candicates. I do not care for his private life , lets concentrate in his credentials rather than his private life. shame on his ex-wife for trying to destroy Newt Gingrich's life.

    January 19, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Tom

      Do you think that Newt may have ruined her life too! No, Newt is not presidential material! Anyone that supports not taxing the rich doesn't represent Americans! OBAMA 2012! If you think he is the worst, then wait for one of these goofy candidates to be the president!~! OBAMA 2012!

      January 20, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  70. Greg, Ontario

    A politician with guts? Where?

    January 19, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  71. Carlos

    I just beg you to give fair time to Ron Paul. I dont care if you like him or not, just fair time buddy.

    January 19, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • steve

      Given Wolf's long and close relationship with Israel and AIPAC, he might not be the one to sympathize with a candidate who would cut aid to the home team.

      January 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Paul

      Won't happen, guaranteed! But we see through that ploy. Dr Paul is the only one of this bunch that is ANY different in any substantial way to what we have now.

      January 19, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  72. Jim Thomas

    It is between Newt and Paul.Forget the other 2.They are to much like obama and he has just about ruined our country.I hope they forget the name calling and get down to the nitty gritty.It is time for the serious issues.Who will be the toughest and won't tell lies just to get elected.We have listened to garbage for the last 12 years.Clean up your act people.Jim Thomas Phx.Az.

    January 19, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Mark

      No Jim, I am not "forgetting anyone", I want to hear all of them; who are you to say ignore a candidate?

      January 19, 2012 at 7:25 pm |

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