CNN will be broadcasting a Republican debate Wednesday night from the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, Arizona. All four GOP candidates will be participating in this crucial shootout just six days prior to the Arizona and Michigan primaries on February 28. This will also be the final debate prior to the Super Tuesday contests on March 6 now that the March 1 debate has been canceled.
Air Time: Wednesday, February 22 at 8pm ET on CNN
Full Video: Watch the full CNN/Arizona Republican debate
Participants: Gingrich, Romney, Santorum, Paul
Report from CNN:
On Wednesday, Feb. 22, Republican presidential hopefuls will face-off for the final debate before a dozen states take to the polls on Super Tuesday. CNN anchor and chief national correspondent John King will moderate the two-hour debate, which will air live from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET from the Mesa Performing Arts Center in Mesa, Arizona.
King, Wolf Blitzer and Erin Burnett will anchor their respective programs live from Mesa on the days surrounding the CNN debate. Anderson Cooper will anchor special, post-debate coverage.
National political correspondent Jim Acosta, senior political correspondent Joe Johns and CNN Radio’s Lisa Desjardins will report from Arizona. In addition, chief political analyst Gloria Borger, senior political analyst David Gergen and CNN political contributors John Avlon, Donna Brazile, Erick Erickson, James Carville and Ari Fleischer will be on site in Arizona to provide insight and analysis across all programming. On the campaign trail covering the candidates leading up to the Arizona and Michigan primaries are reporter-at-large Peter Hamby, political reporter Shannon Travis, and political producers Rachel Streitfeld and Shawna Shepherd.
All four of the leading Republican presidential contenders will participate in Wednesday’s debate: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. In addition to questions posed to the candidates by King and Arizona Republicans in the audience, the network will solicit questions and comments submitted in real-time from CNN.com, the CNN Politics fan page on Facebook and by using the #CNNDebate hashtag on Twitter.
Gingrich has been unable to recapture any momentum this month and it appears to be due in part to the debate drought. Back in November/December/January when there was a debate nearly every 2 weeks, Gingrich was able to build on his performances and sway some voters. Similarly Ron Paul hasn't been able to build any momentum yet having not won a single contest but that probably isn't due to a lack of debates.
As it stands now, this debate will focus on Santorum and Romney since they are neck-and-neck in both Michigan and Arizona. Recent polls showed Santorum with a substantial lead in Michigan, however, it appears he may have come down off the bounce and the race is tightening again. Arizona has moved the other way for Santorum where Romney held the lead literally for years in polling, however, recent polls show a difference of only a few points.