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First Republican debate opens tonight

by Adam Russett on June 13, 2011

There has been a lot of speculation when it comes to who will be the most promising Republican candidate for the 2012 Presidential campaign. The ball got rolling early when Donald Trump said that he was thinking about running. While he decided not to run – or had never seriously considered it in the first place – the G.O.P is still watchful for other potential candidates, like Sarah Palin. 

As it stands, seven hopefuls will take the stage in New Hampshire later tonight for the first major debate. Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, Michelle Bachmann, Rich Santorum, Herman Cain and Ron Paul will be the ones who square off.

CBS reports that most candidates view Romney as the front-runner, which means that he may be the one whose positions get criticized the most. Romney has already suffered from the fact that, as the Governor of Massachusetts, he passed a healthcare bill that is drastically similar to the controversial bill passed by the Obama administration a few years later.

Paul Ryan's equally divisive Medicare reform bill, which could transform the national healthcare system into a privately owned program that would depend on vouchers, could be another make-or-break point for Republicans. While the candidates have voiced their support – or at least not voiced their opposition – for the plan, this position could be given the spotlight, especially because so many Americans have protested the bill.

So far, it seems that Republican voters have met most of the field with "tepid" enthusiasm, according to Thus far, Mitt Romey leads with a strong, 41 percent of the possible vote. Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who hasn't said whether he will be running, wins second place, at 9 percent of the vote. 

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