5 things to watch in tonight's debate

The GOP presidential candidates meet tonight for the first of two pivotal debates ahead of the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, as a surging Newt Gingrich leads the field and Mitt Romney goes on the attack.

In a campaign where the debates have recalibrated the race, tonight’s forum in Des Moines and one Thursday in Sioux City have the potential to be important slugfests as candidates make their case to caucusgoers who’ll cast the first votes for a Republican nominee.

1. Can Newt Gingrich keep his cool?
2. How hard will Mitt Romney swing?
3. Does Ron Paul make his move?
4. Can Rick Perry recover?
5. Will Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum stir things up?