Second verse, same as the first: 7 p.m. ET, St. Anselm’s College, live on CNN. Tonight’s subplots:
1. Amnesty, amnesty, amnesty. St. John will go on the offensive before anyone can put him on the defensive, although Mitt and Tancredo are sure going to try. Will Bush come in for criticism, even if only for his rhetoric? House Republicans have given the green light.
2. Giuliani vs. Paul, round two. Will Rudy duck him? Or will he take a certain someone’s advice and throw Adam Gadahn’s list of demands in his sneering face?
3. The man who wasn’t there. In addition to his surge in the Rasmussen and Survey USA polls, Fred’s even with Giuliani in Pew’s new survey and ahead of the field in the InTrade prediction market for the Republican nomination. He also picked up an endorsement from Bob Corker today and will have the number-three Republican in the House, wunderkind Adam Putnam, working for him in Florida. Hannity’s having him on immediately after the debate ends so let’s see if any of the candidates take their chance to land a preemptive shot or two. If anyone does, I’ll bet it’s McCain (obliquely), their friendship notwithstanding.
4. Libby’s sentencing. Fred was on the steering committee of Libby’s defense fund and is on record as saying he’d pardon him immediately. (It’s in the first clip here, right at the beginning.) Today’s news is a perfect peg for Wolf Blitzer to introduce Thompson’s name into the debate by asking the field if they agree with him or, rather, with Bush, who says he feels “terrible” for Libby but won’t be springing him anytime soon.
I suspect MM will be liveblogging it but I’m not sure yet. No doubt we’ll have video updates, including/especially as regards Fred’s reaction afterwards on H&C. Comments are open…
Update: There was a question earlier in the evening about what the candidates would do if Petraeus came back in September and said the surge wasn’t working. Giuliani didn’t get a chance to answer, so he answered during the Q&A later in the evening. Sort of.
Update: Ian has video of Mike Huckabee offering his opinion of Fred Thompson before the debate.
Update: Here’s a short highlight reel from the first hour. It includes the part where Rudy incurs the wrath of god during his answer about criticism from Catholics about abortion.