Things to Watch in Tonight's Debate

Newt Gingrich will likely be the prime target
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2011 8:41 AM CST
Things to Watch in Tonight's Debate
Newt Gingrich will likely be a prime target tonight.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Newt Gingrich always tries to keep the debates focused on attacks against President Obama rather than among the GOP rivals, but he might not have much luck tonight. Politico thinks the new frontrunner should expect to be the prime target, and Reid J. Epstein runs through seven of the likely topics, including:

  • Marriages: A direct attack on Gingrich's three marriages is dicey, but read between the lines and it will likely surface. Mitt Romney promises to steer clear of overt swipes, but someone like Rick Perry, "who is rebranding himself as a more overtly Christian conservative candidate," might take the risk. (Click to see proof of his new theme.)

  • Paul Ryan: Gingrich's initial criticism of Ryan's budget plan as "right-wing social engineering" isn't going away. Raising it "is almost too tempting to pass up," writes Epstein, because it's such an easy way for Gingrich's rivals to win favor with fiscal conservatives and link themselves to the popular Ryan.
  • Freddie Mac: Railing against the clubby world of Washington insiders is always a crowd-pleaser, and Gingrich's lucrative ties with the mortgage giant is another tough-to-resist target.
Click for the full list. (More Republican debate stories.)

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