Open Thread Huntsman - Gingrich. Two men enter...

The next two person, “Lincoln – Douglas” style debate kicks off today at a rather unusual time, but you’ll get two chances to view it. (And join in commenting on the affair here.) It begins at the rather inconvenient time of 4 PM eastern, 1 PM on the left coast. (Well… at least inconvenient for the few of you who still have jobs, anyway.) But if you’ve got the time and are near your computer, you can watch the livestream here. As yet there is no sharing option, but if there’s an embed version we’ll update this thread and put it in here.

UPDATE: There is an alternate site to watch the debate online at CNN.


But if you’re late to the show, fear not. The debate is scheduled to be rebroadcast on C-SPAN at 8 PM eastern time. If you plan on following along and commenting on Twitter, the hashtag to use and track is #LDdebate20. (And you can bet that Ed, Tina and myself will be chiming in as well.)

What this debate means – if anything – is an open question. When it was originally scheduled this looked like a much better deal for Newt. He was on the rise, but Romney was still arguably the “frontrunner” and the electorate was scrambling around looking for the Not Mitt Candidate. As a contender for that title, Newt would stand to benefit from anyone else who might be painted as direct competition against Romney, eating into his slice of the pie and keeping space open for more Tea Party friendly candidates to remain in the running.

Now, however, the need for that seems to be somewhat diluted, but not entirely. This debate is taking place in New Hampshire, the only one of the early primary states where Mitt is hanging on to his lead, though Newt has been coming on strong. If today’s event can raise Huntsman’s profile in such a way that it eats into Mitt’s support without hurting Newt’s appeal, perhaps there is still some value to it.

The media continues to try to pump up the possibility of Huntsman coming from the back of the pack to be a surprise contender, but that’s looking less and less likely as the clock ticks down. But clearly the one person with nothing to lose here is Huntsman, and he owes Newt a big debt of gratitude for giving him this type of high profile shot at debating the leader of the pack this close to the Granite State primary.