Today's Situation Room:

Wolf Blitzer delivers the most important breaking news and political, international, and national security stories of the day. Tune to The Situation Room weekdays 5-7pm ET on CNN.

Wolf Blitzer delivers the most important breaking news and political, international, and national security stories of the day. Tune to The Situation Room weekdays 5-7pm ET on CNN.

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
Submit your questions for the CNN Republican National Security Debate
November 18th, 2011
06:51 PM ET

Submit your questions for the CNN Republican National Security Debate

(CNN) - Help shape the debate in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Use the form below to submit your brief question to CNN’s Republican National Security Debate, co-sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation. Or tweet your questions to #CNNDebate.
FULL POST


Filed under: 2012 election • Debates
November 12th, 2011
10:25 AM ET

Top GOP debate moments

Take a look at some of the most memorable GOP debate moments this year, including Perry's "oops."

RELATED: BLITZER'S BLOG: The year of the debate

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Filed under: 2012 election • Debates • Republicans
November 10th, 2011
01:03 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: The year of the debate

By CNN’s Wolf Blitzer

(CNN) - It’s pretty amazing how significant the Republican presidential debates have proven to be this year. They have clearly shaped attitudes in rather dramatic ways.

Presidential historians may write one day that this was the year of the debate.

There already have been so many memorable moments – many that the candidates would certainly like to forget.

Last night in Michigan may have been the most memorable and awkward debate moment ever.

That was when Rick Perry had a brain freeze for nearly 60 seconds and forgot the third agency of the U.S. government he would like to eliminate, even though he had routinely cited those three agencies in his campaign stump speech (Education, Commerce and Energy).

But there have been several other moments, including that nasty exchange at the CNN debate in Las Vegas between Perry and Mitt Romney over illegal immigrants working on Romney’s lawn, and that moment at the CNN debate in Tampa, Florida, when some audience members applauded and shouted “yeah” when I asked Ron Paul if we should let an uninsured 30-year-old die.

All of which underscores how important these debates have proven to be. Millions of people watch the actual debates, and tens of millions of people wind up watching those one-minute highlight clips.

Perry entered the race for the GOP nomination nearly three months ago with incredibly high expectations. But his poll numbers have collapsed, largely because of his weak debate performances.

In contrast, Romney’s front-runner status has been steady, in part because of his impressive debate performances.

And Newt Gingrich’s recent slow but solid climb has certainly been helped by his debate performances.

The bottom line: If you want to be president of the United States, you better be prepared to debate.

RELATED: Five things we learned from Wednesday's GOP debate

Follow Wolf Blitzer on Twitter: @WolfBlitzerCNN

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Filed under: 2012 election • Debates • Republicans • Wolf Blitzer
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.
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Filed under: 2012 election • Debates • Wolf Blitzer
September 14th, 2011
07:19 PM ET

Ron Paul's view on health care

Presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul faces criticism over his stance on how to treat people without health insurance. CNN's Brian Todd reports.

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Filed under: 2012 election • Brian Todd • Debates • Health Care
BLITZER’S BLOG: Perry sticks to his guns
September 14th, 2011
04:52 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: Perry sticks to his guns

By CNN's Wolf Blitzer

(CNN) - Whether you agree or disagree with his stance, you have to give Texas Gov. Rick Perry credit for sticking to his guns on some sensitive issues that many tea party and other conservative Republican activists actively oppose.

I’m talking about his support in Texas for in-state tuition rates for children of illegal immigrants and for a mandate to provide the HPV vaccine for young girls to prevent them from developing the sexually transmitted infection that can lead to cervical cancer.
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Filed under: 2012 election • Debates • Rick Perry • Wolf Blitzer
September 13th, 2011
07:11 PM ET

Rick Perry's debate night punches

Gov. Perry took some jabs during the CNN/Tea Party Republican debate. CNN's Joe Johns takes a look at how he performed.

RELATED STORY: Perry still smiling after rough-and-tumble debate


Filed under: 2012 election • Debates • Joe Johns • Rick Perry
BLITZER’S BLOG: More goes into moderating a debate than meets the eye
September 13th, 2011
03:01 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: More goes into moderating a debate than meets the eye

By CNN's Wolf Blitzer

(CNN) – Moderating a presidential debate is not easy. That is especially true when you have eight candidates on the stage – each one eager to get as much time as possible to make his or her points.

Four years ago, I moderated five CNN presidential debates. Some had eight or even nine candidates on the stage. The final one I did had only two – Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
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Filed under: 2012 election • Debates • Wolf Blitzer
September 12th, 2011
03:36 PM ET

Blitzer: My job at the CNN Tea Party Debate

Wolf Blitzer talks about how he sees his job as moderator of tonight's CNN Tea Party Republican Debate.

On Monday, Sept. 12th, CNN will broadcast the "Tea Party Republican Debate," live from Tampa, Florida at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on CNNPolitics.com, CNN Politics on Facebook and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.

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Filed under: 2012 election • Debates • Situation Room • Wolf Blitzer
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