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September 12, 2011

Previewing Tonight's Tea Party Debate

This week features two Republican presidential debates in the Sunshine State, the first coming tonight with the CNN/Tea Party Express debate in Tampa, Florida. It airs at 8 pm ET.

The Hotline: "If you think the spat between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney over Social Security is heated now, you ain't seen nothin' yet. The tone of the back-and-forth between the rival campaigns has grown noticeably sharper since Wednesday's debate, with Perry's characterization of Social Security as a 'Ponzi scheme' serving as the catalyst for their escalating dispute. The Romney campaign now sees a golden opportunity to leverage the issue -- one of immense importance to elderly voters -- during the next two debates, both of which will take place in senior-heavy Florida. Romney smells blood on the issue; watch for him to circle the wagons Monday in Tampa."

Howard Kurtz: "And the candidate with the most at stake is the Tea Party queen herself, Michele Bachmann, who badly needs to capitalize on the sympathetic audience. The congresswoman's luster has clearly faded since her Iowa straw-poll victory last month, and she was practically invisible in last week's MSNBC-Politico debate."

The Washington Examiner: "It's no secret the Bachmann camp was unhappy with the moderators of last Wednesday's Republican debate at the Reagan Library, a debate which began as a Perry-Romney showdown and gave less time to other candidates.  This time, in Tampa, it seems safe to predict that moderators will ask at least some other candidates whether they agree with Perry's characterization of Social Security."


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