June 13th, 2011
05:17 PM ET

CNN debate: 5 things that could shape the race

Editor's note: CNN hosts the first New Hampshire Republican presidential debate Monday night from Manchester at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news about the debate on CNNPolitics.com and @cnnpolitics on Twitter. Watch the debate on CNN TV, CNN.com and mobile devices. And participate with your questions on the live blog on the CNN Political Ticker.

Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) - Newt Gingrich is on the ropes, Tim Pawlenty's dropped the gloves, and Mitt Romney will be in the middle.

It doesn't matter that Sarah Palin, Rudy Giuliani and Jon Huntsman decided to stay home.

The game is on.

No more hedging statements, exploratory committees, or one more discussion with the family before deciding to jump into the water headfirst. The final boxes have been checked - save for Michele Bachmann. For the six others, the race for the GOP presidential nomination begins Monday night at the CNN/WMUR/New Hampshire Union Leader debate.

Voters will be looking for the candidates to deliver answers on the pressing issues facing the nation, and Republican viewers will be watching for a candidate to take on President Obama in 2012.

Early polling shows GOP voters are not exactly enamored with the current field. Perhaps that would change if Palin and Giuliani decided to run.

Huntsman told my CNN colleague Candy Crowley the other day that he is on the verge of making it official. He will run for president. An announcement is expected in the coming days.

The former Utah governor sees the lack of enthusiasm with the current field as an opening, as long as GOP primary voters don't punish him for serving as Obama's ambassador to China.

It is very early in the contest, but still much is at stake: for the "front-runner," the "perceived alternative," the "wounded," the "I told you so," the "unknowns," and "those waiting in the wings."

Here are five things to look for Monday night that will help shape the race for the Republican presidential nomination:

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soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Ellie Quinn

    In regards to JOBS.
    My boss retired after 20yrs and have found that most company's only want to hire Part Time so they don't have to pay for benefits; which makes it really hard to take a job when you can make the same-a little less – a little more by just getting unemployment instead.
    Shame on company's who are taking jobs over seas!!!!!!!!!!!! They should PAY an extreme HIGH TAX!!!
    We need to keep american job here in the USA.
    We need to increase exports!
    When I go shopping I look for Made In The USA!

    In regards to medical: I think that ever we should have a minimum pymt taken out of our paychecks to go toward medical ins . I think every employer should also help pay a minimum toward health insurance!!!!!
    A owner of a company told me that he wants to help keep his employees healthy and he doesn't want them to be distracted by having a medical bill expense to think about!!!!! By helping them out with insurance this would help prevent distress and increases productivity. WIN.... WIN.... for everone!!!
    WHAT A BOSS!!!!!

    June 13, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
  2. sheila radle

    I've heard if I have more kids i'll get more assistant... free help! I think if you start out w/ help on one you should not get more help by having more. Be Accountable!!!!! If you can't take care of what you have why have more!!!! BE RESPONSIBLE!!!!! Broken System!!!

    My brothers an ins agent and he tell's me that if you have a high deductable and you don't make a lot of money that the state will write off your deductable.. ! I think if you choose to take out a high deductable you have to be prepared to pay your deductable! Be Responsible!!!!!!! This is wasteful spending!!!!!!!!!!!

    I think we should start over - get rid of all the programs !!!
    Help the TRUE disabled people and go from their!!!

    My sister home schools and first I thought that this isn't the right way to educate but after hearing and seeing how our school systems are so falling behind and now I know why my sister is dong the right thing by home schooling!!
    I have a close friend who is a teacher who told be that she is so really ready to retire because of how hard it is to have to teach her children due to the parents not showing up to parent teacher meeting; not understanding (english) and not caring. Bright kids having to be held back to manage the others!!!!!

    June 13, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  3. beverley dana

    regarding subsidy for ethenal. I am wondering why u politicians are in such a rush to remove the subsidy for ethanol but no big oil. there would be a great savings in our budgets, especially since those folks make mucho money off the back of US demand and the peoples of the US get nothing, ie no taxes from their profits, no benefits at all. so, why did you Repubs not repeal those subsidies.????????

    June 13, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
  4. John Hinely

    All discussion seems to be on jobs and economy so far. What about the continued loss of state's rights and personal liberties. Many people we know care more about liberty and our Republic than a single symptom of their demise. I would like to know what the candidates think about the Federal Government intruding in everyone's lives and liberties, most often through non-law based regulations by unelected individuals.

    June 13, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
  5. JR

    Debates are for those who do not follow what is happening in the world and country. Also, those few or many, who only depend on the media: social or journalist. Will only get a narrow substance. This is what one would call, " reality voting!"
    Confirmation of how one takes control of how they see the economy and world, actually; does not vote. PERIOD!

    June 13, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
  6. Frankie Pizano

    What are their views on the "Fair Tax"?

    June 13, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
  7. Samuel

    I must say from what I am hearing in the debate is only what President Obama is doing! I hear very few solutions from the speakers. What will they do as president?

    June 13, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
  8. Ray Walters

    I am a consevative Republican but I am embarrassed by the debators. Typical politicians – they don't know how to answer a question in the allotted time. I give points to those who at least try to keep their answers short and to the point – and subtract from those who insist on going overtime.

    June 13, 2011 at 8:39 pm |