Open thread: The ABC GOP Debate

This evening we’ll be treated to one of the last debates of the year. (And depending on Mr. Trump, it may be the last, unless you count various two person forums.) Hosted by Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos, it’s being held in Des Moines, Iowa, only a few weeks before they caucus.

In case you missed it earlier, Ed already wrote up an analysis of the coming battle, what we should be looking for from each of the candidates and who has the most to win or lose. Aside from opening up a spot for you all to discuss while it unfolds, I won’t add a lot more to that, as I agreed with his analysis.

One of the first points of interest, though, is that you’ll be seeing slightly less than the usual number of candidates this time, with the podiums being down to six in number. Herman Cain dropped out and, by the rules established for this event, Jon Huntsman didn’t gain sufficient numbers in the polls to qualify. But he may make up for that, considering he’s got his own two person shindig with Newt coming up on Monday in New Hampshire.

The guns blazing showdown we’ll all be watching for, I’m sure, is newly anointed frontrunner Newt vs. Romney. In the past, Romney has tried to stay above the fray, but he can’t afford that any more, so we’ll have to see how he holds up taking on Newt directly, assuming he chooses to do it. But the underdog surprise I’ll be watching for tonight is what Rick Perry does. He just made a huge ad buy in Iowa and is doubtless hoping to see his numbers pulling upward from that. (And not just in the Hot Gas reader poll, either.) A good appearance tonight in Des Moines could go a fair ways in helping that effort. But as we’ve seen, the phrase “a good debate performance by Rick Perry” isn’t a given by any means.

Anyway, break out the popcorn, grab yourselves a tasty beverage and enjoy the show.

Update (Ed): I’m here at Drake University and will be tweeting during the debate, as long as the Internet access holds up. Why not follow along with all of the Hot Air/Townhall tweeters?