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BLITZER’S BLOG: The importance of Monday’s CNN-Tea Party Republican Debate
September 9th, 2011
04:16 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: The importance of Monday’s CNN-Tea Party Republican Debate

By CNN’s Wolf Blitzer

Tampa, Florida (CNN) - I’ve moderated several presidential debates over the years. I did five of them leading up to the 2008 election, including the Democratic debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles.

I’ve always learned important lessons in each debate that have helped me prepare for the next one. I’ve been reviewing those lessons as I gear up for the CNN-Tea Party Republican Debate here in Tampa at 8 p.m. ET Monday.

When I face the eight Republican candidates, I am aware that one of them will emerge as the GOP presidential nominee, unless someone else decides to jump into the race and wins the early contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida. That’s still possible, but at this relatively late stage it seems unlikely.

I know that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is still flirting with the idea, but the longer she waits the more difficult her mission. By remaining undecided for so long, she may have missed her moment.

Beyond that, I am also aware that one of these Republicans might in fact become the next president of the United States.

President Obama will certainly face a stiff challenge in the general election no matter who the Republican nominee is. No one appreciates that more than the president and his top campaign advisers: They will have a real fight on their hands.

That’s why these debates are so important. I want potential voters out there to have a better appreciation of these candidates – their strengths and weaknesses. I want to make sure we can drill down on where they agree and where they differ. When the candidates dodge the questions, I will follow up and press. That’s what the voters want, and I’m looking forward to this opportunity.

NOTE: The CNN-Tea Party Debate, moderated by CNN lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer, airs live 8-10 p.m. ET Monday, September 12, on CNN.
For full debate coverage, go to

Press release: CNN, Tea Party Express to Host First-Ever Tea Party Debate, Sept. 12

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Filed under: 2012 election • Debates • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (283 Responses)
  1. grace skipton

    Wolf Blitzer, you made the comment that Paul Ryan won the vice Presidents debate. I don't know how you can say this. I feel that Biden won the debate. Are you representing the Republican Party? Paul Ryan is not telling the truth about the Republican plan and neither is Romney. Biden has a lot of experience over Paul Ryan. I would not vote for Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan. If something happened to Mitt Romney I would not want Paul Ryan for President. I believe he would get us into a war. And Mitt Romney does not care about helping the middle class or poor, he more or less said that himself.

    October 12, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  2. Jeff Schaengold

    Now that we all agree that we are heading toward self-reliance on energy through the expanded extraction and supply of natural gas, what is the panel's startegy to expand the natural gas delivery system so that more homes and businesses are converted from propane and electric heat to natural gas ?

    January 26, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  3. Jeff Schaengold

    Question for the panel...

    Why has the Federal government spent over $2 Billion in the last 5 years to expand airport tarmacs and runways for Airbus 380's... but East Coast ports in Boston, Elizabeth NJ, Baltimore and Miami can't get funding to expand the ports to receive the new size tankers that will be passing through the Panama Canal in 2014.

    Could it be that President Obama's supporter Warren Buffett operates the nation's leading West Coast railroad that would lose 35% of their ocean container business to/from the East Coast ?

    January 26, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
  4. Jeff Schaengold

    Question for Gov. Romney...

    In SC debate, Romney stated he is responsible for creating 120,000 jobs and eliminating 10,000 jobs
    leaving a net 110,000 gain.

    In FL, Romney stated that 90,000 jobs were created at Staples... and the balance at Sports Authority.

    Facts – 81% of employees at Staples and Sports Authority pay less than 10% Federal Income tax because
    their gross income falls below the minimum tax threshhold.

    Under the Food Stamp Program, 73% earn less than $18,000 a year thus qualifying them for Obama Food

    In 2010, only 11% of employees at Staples and Sports Authority paid a higher tax rate than Romney.

    If the age for health insurance coverage was not extended for family members, 84% of Staples
    and Sports Authority employees would not be covered by health insurance.

    Are these the kinds of jobs that Gov. Romney promises he will deliver based on his experience at Bain ?

    January 26, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • grace skipton

      Jeff, I believe that Mitt Romney is not telling the truth to the American people. I remember what he said on the video about not caring about the middle class or the poor people of this country. I am not voting for him. And I feel that Biden won the debate over Paul Ryan. I sure wouldn't want Paul Ryan for President if something happened to Mitt Romney.

      October 12, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  5. Donald Edmondson

    Whom will pay for that mandated cost of a young person needing medical care certainly not the hospital. Those paying to have medical insurance will pay for it. I am not defending making young people to have insurance this way . Just a thought make them paid into an account & if they don't never go into the hospital until medicare age they could get thier money back. No! that is a dumb thought on my part. The government has robed Social Security

    September 19, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
  6. Terry

    Ron Paul when asked about the 30 yr old...he was saying..that if a young man...chooses NOT to have Insurance and something happens it is his own fault for not having Ins....a person has a choice to buy or NOT.....if he goes to the hospital...he will be cared for NO ONE IS EVER TURNED is mandated. If Obamacare kicks in YOU are going to have to pay it is madatory or you will be FINED....Ron Paul is talking about personal responsibility....the USA is going broke and programs are being cut back...and don't mention Europe and there HC...they are broke too....cheeezzzzzzz

    September 17, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
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