Saturday evening will mark the second GOP debate airing on a broadcast network as ABC presents an event from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. The debate is sponsored by ABC News, Yahoo! News, WOI-TV, the Des Moines Register and the Republican Party of Iowa. This will be a 2 hour broadcast and with only 6 candidates on stage, there will be a slightly different dynamic than previous debates.
Full Debate Video: ABC News/Yahoo Republican Debate Video
Air Time: Saturday, December 10 at 9pm ET / 8pm CT / 6pm PT on ABC
Participants: Romney, Perry, Bachmann, Gingrich, Santorum, Paul
Report from MEDIAITE:
Now that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is beginning to break away in Republican primary polls, the Mitt Romney campaign is beginning to ramp up its attacks. Saturday’s ABC News/WMUR-TV debate offers Romney his best chance to slow the Newt-mentum, but it’s not a do-or-die situation for the consistent poll runner-up. Newt Gingrich, on the other hand, needs to turn in a flawless performance to justify voters’ faith in his key selling point: the notion that he’ll mop the floor with President Obama in general election debates.
Saturday’s debate will be just the second this season to appear on a broadcast network, and the first to air in its entirety (CBS shunted the last half-hour of its debate to a webcast), giving all of the candidates a much wider audience to speak to. For Mitt Romney, there’s a certain amount of pressure on him to damage frontrunner Newt Gingrich, to slow his momentum in the polls, but it’s not desperation time. Romney has Gingrich badly outgunned in the fundraising and organization department, and can hang in with decent performances in early states.
Gingrich, though, has to fight sky-high expectations, fueled partially by his own hubris, that tie directly into his appeal as a candidate. Despite all of his baggage (personal, political, and financial), Republican voters are enamored of Gingrich because he expresses their existential panic at the prospect of a second Obama term, and they are drooling at the prospect of their big brainiac facing down the President in general election debates. A poor performance Saturday would seriously undermine that.
All eyes will be on how Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich approach each other with regard to the recent attacks both candidates have begun leveling. With Herman Cain out the picture and Rick Perry out of double-digits, the only remaining candidate vying for Iowa appears to be Ron Paul who will also be looking to bring down both Gingrich and Romney.
Should be an interesting 2 hours.