9 p.m. ET on Fox News, the 16th debate of the primary season — yes, really — and mercifully the very last one before the caucuses. Ed previewed it a few hours ago but the match-ups seem straightforward: Romney and Gingrich in one corner battling for the technocratic vote, Perry and Bachmann in another corner battling for social conservatives, and Ron Paul untouched in the center of the ring, rubbing his hands and cackling with glee. Any one of them can win on January 3 (well, probably not Bachmann) and they won’t have another opportunity to make a nationally televised splash before then, so if ever the big guns were coming out, they’re coming out tonight. Gingrich swears he’s going to ignore the attacks on him and even went so far today as to take back his line at the last debate about Romney’s aspirations to being a career politician, but I can’t believe he’ll let himself become a punching bag with this many people watching — even if negativity is “discordant with the spirit of Christmas.” Prediction: By the end of the debate he’ll be referring to Mitt as “moneybags” and Mitt to him as “the adulterer.” Awesome.
Here’s the handy dandy Hot Air/Townhall Twitter widget for our live updates during the debate. Below, for your amusement, you’ll find two new vids recycling archival footage — one of Gingrich praising Romney and the other of Bachmann praising Gingrich. I’m surprised more campaigns aren’t running spots like that. Given how promiscuously prominent pols fundraise for each other in normal times, every candidate must have soundbites like these from every other candidate. If you get bored with that, read this Telegraph piece fact-checking Romney’s claims of having lived a middle-class lifestyle while he was a missionary in France. Not quite true, as it turns out — and if there’s one thing Mitt needs right before Iowa, it’s a mini-scandal reminding voters of his wealth and his untrustworthiness. Exit question: Who’ll be the first person tonight to claim that a vote for Newt is a vote for Obama?