Saturday Iowa Debate 

Posted: 3:30 pm Friday, December 9th, 2011

By Jamie Dupree

As the major Republican candidates gather in Iowa for a debate on ABC-TV Saturday night, the dynamic will be different because of who isn’t there and who is the new GOP frontrunner.

We all know that Newt Gingrich has soared to the top of the polls – that’s one big difference from the last debate held just before Thanksgiving – but since then Herman Cain has dropped out of the race.

And in this Iowa debate, Jon Huntsman won’t be on stage because his poll numbers in the Hawkeye State were too weak.

So that leaves six Republicans – Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul.

Think about it for a second – fewer people on stage means more time for everyone and maybe more time to take some jabs at the frontrunner.

Gingrich has excelled in the debates so far, refusing to get into any of the pointed exchanges that other Republican hopefuls have at times engaged in.

Can that continue?

Will Mitt Romney go in for the attack against Gingrich?  How about Bachmann or Santorum?

And what about Rick Perry?  Or Ron Paul?  He’s gone after Gingrich with ads already in the Hawkeye State.

This is the first of two final debates in Iowa; the second is next Thursday in Sioux City.

Put your campaign strategy hat on for a minute – what would you recommend to some of the candidates to try in these final debates?

Four years ago right now, the signs all pointed to a Hillary Clinton win on the Democratic side.  But then I watched Barack Obama win in Iowa.

Will the polls be right in just over three weeks?  Or will something change because of these debates?

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