Florida NBC Republican Presidential Primary Debate Tonight

TAMPA, Florida - The first Florida Republican Presidential Primary debate will take place at the University of South Florida in Tampa tonight at 9:00 p.m.  E.S.T.  The debate will air on NBC.
Tonight will be the first debate after Newt Gingrich's double digit win over Romney in the January 21st South Carolina Primary.  After the withdrawal of Rick Perry earlier this week, the field has narrowed to only four GOP candidates remaining: Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich. 

Some of the topics in Florida that may be addressed during this debate are the future of the U.S. Space Program at Kennedy Space Center, the U.S. housing crisis and unemployment which hit Florida especially hard, and off-shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. 

It appears that Gingrich is trying to take the political lead when it comes to U.S. manned space flight.  Gingrich is meeting with aerospace industry representatives on Florida's Space Coast on January 25, 2012.  He is also the only candidate who has a town hall scheduled in Brevard County at Brevard Community College later that day at 5:00 p.m. where he is expected to make a major space speech in the 'JFK tradition.'

Gingrich will have to try to reconcile any campaign promises he makes with an oped he wrote in the Washington Times in 2010 wherein he applauded the Obama administration's 'reboot' of the U.S. Space Program.


Florida has remained in the top four states hardest hit by the housing collapse.  Florida is a judicial foreclosure state with due process like any other lawsuit.  This due process ultimately led to the discovery of widespread fraud on the part of some 'foreclosure mill' law firms, loan servicers, banks, and ultimately the mortgage securitization that took place on Wall Street.  Not only do Floridians want their jobs back, they want to see prosecutions of the perpetrators on Wall Street who caused so much widespread economic misery in this state. 

This topic is where Gingrich will have to be very nimble after receiving large paychecks from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for Gingrich's role as an 'adviser.' 

How Romney answers this topic could also give voters a glimpse as to whether Romney actually profited from the housing meltdown.  Romney has indicated that he will release his his tax returns for 2010 along with his estimate for the 2011 tax year on Tuesday.


Here, the Republican candidates will have to balance a pro-energy, pro-job national Republican policy while trying to woo voters who just suffered the worst environmental disaster ever to hit Florida.  

Occupy Tampa, and offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement, plans to protest at the debate tonight.

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