Chat Live with Special Guests During the Debate
Welcome to our live online event for the FoxNews Republican Presidential Debate in Tampa Florida. The debate begins at 9pm eastern time on Thursday the 22nd and our live coverage will begin a little bit before that. We’ll have live chat commentary which you can participate in with capacity for hundreds to take part and share their observations during the debate, plus a post mortem after the debate which may feature a special guest. Drinking games during the debate are not only authorized, but encouraged. The chat application is right below and some information on the candidates fills out the rest of this article.
The debate is being sponsored by the Republican Party of Florida at their Presidency 5 straw poll event in Orlando, but you don’t have to pay $175 to attend (or have Ron Paul pay it for you). You can watch it on cable on FoxNews and get the blow by blow commentary here. It’ll be just like being in the audience. There will also be a livestream of the debate to watch on the web.
Prior to the debate you can submit your questions for the candidates on video through YouTube or just vote on the questions you like the best.
Gary Johnson is making big news right before the debate, because after being excluded from the last two debates, he battled his way back in with a 1% oor higher showing in five recent polls, plus he’s still outpolling Rick Santorum and John Huntsman. In fact, in a current FoxNews online poll Johnson has surged ahead and is now tied for third with Rick Perry and ahead of Michelle Bachmann and Mitt Romney. Interestingly, Johnson’s inclusion in the debate is over the objections of the Republican Party of Florida which has had a troubled history in dealing with the libertarian-leaning wing of the party which Johnson represents. If Johnson can bring the kind of dynamism to this debate which he has shown in recent television appearances he could become a major contender again.
Rick Perry is the longest serving governor in the history of the state of Texas and has launched a campaign based around strong statements on states rights and getting Washington off the backs of the people. His statements are somewhat in contrast to his long record as a government insider and supporter of federal programs. He is perhaps best known in Texas for his friendliness to large corporations and the inside deals and special favors which have been hallmarks of his administration. This is Perry’s first debate and there is some speculation that he is not well prepared and may suffer based on his history of being a weak debate performer, or may even duck out at the last minute citing the wildfire crisis in Texas as a reason not to attend.
Ron Paul is probably the highest profile candidate. He is a 10 term Congressman from Texas known by his colleagues as “Dr. No” for his consistent opposition to any growth of government spending or programs and any legislation of questionable constitutionality. Paul ran for president in 2008 and his campaign launched the Tea Party movement and pioneered non-traditional fundraising methodology which has been adopted by other insurgent campaigns since then. Paul is a conservative libertarian politically who believes in minimal government and strict adherence to the Constitution and for his outspoken, sometimes irascible style.
Mitt Romney is a perceived frontrunner, but he has been running a very low profile campaign and losing ground to more active candidates. The former governor of Massachusetts has a strong business background and a successful record in office. He ran for president in 2008 and has high name recognition, but is somewhat tainted by his association with President Obama’s public health care plan which was largely based on a plan Romney instituted in Massachusetts which has been plagued by budget overruns. This debate is Romney’s opportunity to confirm that he is a frontrunner or end his campaign quickly with a bang.
Michelle Bachmann is a controversial Congresswoman from Minnesota who is best known for her association with the Tea Party movement and her extreme religious views which include strong opposition to gay rights and a call for a federal ban on pornography. Bachmann has a strongly fiscally conservative record and was a top contender in the polls until a few weeks ago when her numbers dropped into the single digits, possibly because of the entry of Rick Perry into the race and his appeal to the same demographic.
Herman Cain is the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, a syndicated columnist and a former federal reserve board chairman.. Until recently he was a nationally syndicated radio talkshow host, but is on hiatus during his campaign. He is from Atlanta and has degrees in mathematics and computer science. He is a strong fiscal conservative with relatively pragmatic positions on social issues. He is an experienced and dynamic public speaker and brings powerful credentials as a very successful businessman to his campaign.
John Huntsman is the former Governor of Utah and most recently was President Obama’s Ambassador to China. He is seen as a moderate Republican with an appeal to independents, though so far his lack of media exposure and relatively low public profile have held him back from any success in national polls. If he performs well here it may take him from the back bench to being a more major contender.
Rick Santorum served two terms as Senator from Pennsylvania and two terms in Congress representing suburban Pittsburgh. He is Roman Catholic and has a reputation as an extreme religious conservative. He tried to legislate the teaching of intelligent design at the federal level and has made controversial statements on a variety of social issues. He is known for his aggressive and confrontational style and for not shying away from controversial positions.
For more information on the candidates, their statements and their records see Project Vote Smart.