CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The first South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary Debate will be aired tonight, January 14, 2012 at 8 p.m. E.S.T. on Fox News. This will be a taped broadcast with only five of the six candidates participating (minus Ron Paul).
The first debate may not enjoy a large audience however, with All Eyes On Denver Broncos and New England Patriots Tonight.
Another debate, with all six candidates: Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, and Jon Huntsman, will air live on Fox News on January 16, 2012 at 9 p.m. E.S.T. This debate will take place in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
This will be the first debate where Mitt Romney will have the opportunity to go after Newt Gingrich for the negative ad campaign which was sponsored by Gingrich's Super PAC. Viewers can look forward to a lively discussion regarding Romney's roll at Bain Capital, and whether he actually created jobs as he claimed on the campaign trail. Gingrich's Super PAC went so far as to put together a 28 minute movie titled "King of Bain" that claims Romney was actually a job killer rather than a job creator.
South Carolina is seen as Gingrich's arena to unleash revenge against Romney after Romney's Super PAC unleashed negative ads in Iowa and New Hampshire against Gingrich. The negative attacks by both candidates is completely in line with the history of American politics going back to the Founding Fathers. American politics, for the most part, has consisted of grown men acting like mean girls in high school.
The curve ball that everyone will watch for in the debate is whether Romney puts his foot in his mouth with another remark like "I like to fire people" or make a $10,000 bet to one of the candidates.
The South Carolina debates are make-or-break for Santorum, Perry, and Huntsman. Santorum has to stop his double-digit free fall in the South Carolina polls this last week. Perry has to convince South Carolina social conservatives to rally around him rather than Gingrich or Santorum. Perry's debate performances have improved drastically over the last two debates since his early blunders in Iowa.
One edge that former U.S. Air Force pilot Perry has over Gingrich and Santorum is that South Carolina has a large number veterans. Look for Perry to highlight his military service and the lack of military service of the other candidates (except for Paul who was a U.S.A.F. flight surgeon).
Jon Huntsman declared in New Hampshire that his distant third place finish was a "ticket to ride." But so far, that ride has been at the bottom where he cannot break out of single digits.
One thing viewers will probably not see during the debates is Huntsman speaking Mandarin Chinese or Romney speaking French.
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