Tonight in Florida the GOP Presidential candidates will square off in what should be an interesting debate, more so because of who is hosting it than who the candidates are. CNN has teamed up the national tea party organization, Tea Party Express to present a two hour debate moderated by CNN lead anchor Wolf Blitzer. The group will face questions from Blitzer, but also from audience members and tea party members from inside the debate hall and across 31 states. This debate stands to be of particular interest to conservatives and tea party sympathizers. It will be the first debate in which the very people who have propelled the tea party to political influence will have the opportunity to pose questions based on their ideology and values. This will be a chance for voters to take the “conservative temperature” of the candidates in ways they haven’t been able to before with professional moderators controlling the tone and temperament of the questioning.
Michele Bachmann, a tea party favorite, is most likely under the most pressure to perform in this format. After a fairly wooden performance last week, look for her to inject some passion, spontaneity and values talk this time. Of all the candidates, she seems to have the most to lose tonight if her performance goes south.
Herman Cain is another tea party favorite and is also expected to make a strong showing. He’s been improving every debate and is moving up in the pack as a viable nominee.
Mitt Romney should be looking to explain himself to the tea party voters. This debate could end up being very important to his chance in the longrun. Tea partiers are very sensitive to his healthcare baggage and it is quite likely he’ll be asked about that from the audience.
Whatever happens, this debate will likely spell the end for at least one or two candidates, and a new beginning for two or three more. Be sure to watch tonight, live on CNN at 8 p.m. ET and check back in with Conservative Daily News for coverage and recaps.