Posted by on January 06, 2012 in Blog




The Iowa caucuses have shaken up the Republican primary race as the candidates head to New Hampshire. This weekend, the candidates will meet for two debates, the first on Saturday in Manchester and the second in Concord. Here are some things to watch for in both New Hampshire debates:


  • Santorum surged from relative anonymity to a close second place in Iowa at just the right moment. None of the other candidates had bothered to attack him prior to his surge, and his surge came too late for any last minute attacks to have any affect. Thus, the other candidates will likely come out swinging against Santorum in both New Hampshire debates this weekend. The attacks will likely be strongest from Perry and Gingrich, who are competing with Santorum for the conservative vote. Santorum will likely be criticized on earmarks from his years in the Senate. His rivals might also make some quips about electability, as Santorum lost his last election in his home state by double digits. The most damaging attacks, however, are likely to be on entitlements. Santorum claimed he held his nose when he voted for the controversial expansion of Medicare in 2003. Now that the spotlight is on Santorum, it has been revealed that he was active in helping get the bill passed. Furthermore, he exploited his lucrative ties to the health care industry to make millions upon leaving congress. Attacks on these subjects will likely be harsh and come from all sides in this weekend’s debates.
  • Newt Gingrich sounded angry and vindictive in his post-Iowa speech. Gingrich was the victim of a barrage of negative ads from a pro-Romney super-PAC, which he ostensibly blames for his disappointing 4th place finish. The speech contained thinly-veiled threats directed at Romney and seemed to signal his intention to bring Romney down. While he still claims to be running a positive campaign, Gingrich is likely to make his attacks on Romney both harsh and personal in these New Hampshire debates.
  • Jon Huntsman has staked his hopes for the Presidency entirely on the state of New Hampshire, in similar fashion to Santorum’s Iowa-only strategy. This tactic has helped Huntsman reach double digits in New Hampshire, but he has yet to experience a late surge. Thus, these two final debates in New Hampshire will be his final chance to make an impression and distinguish himself from his rivals.

The first debate will air on ABC at 9pm EST. The second will air on NBC a mere 12 hours later at 9am EST. Before you watch, be sure to check out AAI’s candidate profiles, which are updated daily to include the latest statements and positions from each candidate.

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