Tonight’s New Hampshire debate marks the “informal kickoff” to the 2012 GOP race, with nearly all the major candidates appearing. Joshua Green of the Atlantic breaks down the seven things to watch for:
- Romney in the lead? He’s topping the polls; will he shine in this performance? "He'd better," Green muses, "because there's only one direction to go if he doesn't."
- Will the focus be on the economy or health care? Romney would like to stick with the economy, but his opponents may pound him on “Obam-neyCare.”
- What’s Michelle Bachmann like in a debate? She has fundraising chops and Tea Partiers like her, but "her grasp of the facts can be a little shaky."
- Can Newt stay alive? “Nobody's ever entered a debate in worse shape than Newt Gingrich,” so a lot rides on tonight.
- Palin or Weiner, anyone? They’re the big stories right now, so “any candidate who takes a shot at Palin or Weiner is a candidate guaranteed to get plenty of press attention.”
Click for items No. 6 and No. 7
, which focus on Herman Cain and Ron Paul. (Read more GOP Debate