Sunday Debate Offers GOP Hopeful Second Chance At Fireworks

Republican presidential hopefuls will have a renewed opportunity to draw contrasts with each other in their second of two debates in a 12-hour span on Sunday morning.

A Saturday night debate in Manchester yielded few defining moments, and did little to add new scrutiny that had been expected of Mitt Romney, the frontrunner in the Granite State's primary on Tuesday.

The rest of the GOP field will have their second -- and last -- chance to draw those contrasts with Romney at the NBC News-Facebook debate on Sunday morning in Concord, N.H. The debate will be broadcast on "Meet the Press" at 9 a.m. ET, and viewers can share their thoughts here in the last few hours before the debate begins.

It all leaves the Sunday morning debate as the final opportunity, with just two days until the New Hampshire primary, for candidates who had been positioning themselves as the prime alternative to Romney to make that case to voters.

Most notably, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who had promised to take a new, aggressive tack against Romney and had barnstormed New Hampshire this week voicing that type of rhetoric, largely pulled his punches on the former Massachusetts governor.

That came in defiance of expectations Gingrich's campaign had built going into the debate, having circulated a research memo on Romney's tax record.

Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum -- who battled Romney to a virtual draw in last week's Iowa caucuses -- offered relatively tepid criticisms of Romney about three quarters of the way through the debate, but had otherwise held off heavy criticism of Romney.

"I do think there's a difference between a bold Reagan conservative model and a more establishment model that is a little more cautious about taking the kind of changes we need," Gingrich said in comparing his jobs plan against the former Massachusetts governor's.

"I don't think Governor Romney's plan is particularly bold, or is particularly focused on where the problems are in this country," Santorum said.

Romney leads in the battle to win Tuesday's election in New Hampshire, the first primary of the 2012 cycle, and the second nominating contest after Iowa's caucuses. He's worked to build the state into a kind of firewall for his campaign, and recent polling reflects his frontrunner status here.

Forty-two percent of likely Republican primary voters intend to vote for Romney, according to an NBC News-Marist poll released Friday evening. Twenty-two percent prefer Texas Rep. Ron Paul, followed by Santorum at 13 percent, Gingrich at 9 percent and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman at 9 percent.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who's elected to skip the New Hampshire primary to focus on the next primary in South Carolina on Jan. 21, polls at one percent in New Hampshire. (In one of the debate's most newsworthy moments, Perry said he would favor sending troops back into Iraq.)

Candidates continue later this month from South Carolina onto Florida, which hosts its primary on Jan. 31.

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  • by Ronny Location: ENC on Jan 8, 2012 at 07:21 PM
    Until people wake up and see that Democrats and Republicans are the EXACT SAME THING then they will not be able to see how rigged the government is. People argue over small issues and fail to realise that Democrats and Republicans are both pro big government, pro war, and pro huge military. Until people realise this then the two party system (really a one party system) will continue to rule the USA. Ron Paul is the only Candidate that is different and wants to end the corruption. Do you people really think its going to change anything if Romney wins? Or Newt? Santorum? Or Obama stays in office? Haha, get real. These guys all play on the same team and have people arguing over small pointless issues making you think your vote actually matters. Please wake up people...before its to late. Ron Paul 2012!
    • reply
      by Obama Snake Oil co on Jan 9, 2012 at 05:13 AM in reply to Ronny
      Yeah, that is why the GOP is the party of no, no new taxes, no raising taxes, no spending, no big government programs whereas the DNC is the party of spend it like you stole it, new programs and government jobs, trillions in debt, Obimbo care which we can no afford and no jobs.
      • reply
        by GOP THE PARTY OF "NO" on Jan 9, 2012 at 05:32 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
        • reply
          by Obama Snake Oil Co on Jan 10, 2012 at 05:36 AM in reply to GOP THE PARTY OF "NO"
          Why are you so angry? Is it because you know Obimbo it washed up or did a tree washup in your front yard? Nice try with the spin, but 15 trillion in debt is the result of Obimbo, Harry and Nancy, you own it, its you man, you blew it when you had control of all branches of government. Your results are catestrophic damage to the country, our children and their children. You really proud of that failure?
      • reply
        by and... on Jan 11, 2012 at 07:48 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
        Oh you mean the repugs, the ones that turned down a 1 cent tax for education but allow 4 cents on the gas pump , You make me want to puke when I think of your tinfoil hat.
        • reply
          by Obama Snake Oil co on Jan 11, 2012 at 03:42 PM in reply to and...
          Well, you would be puking in Bev Purdues lap since she vetoed the "repugs" attempt to repeal it. Funny, I thought you knew that. You can have my tinfoil hat since you love it so much....kind of makes your head look like Obimbo if you hold it on right. Besides, the beanie cap with the propeller on top...kind of dated, time to give it to one of your kids.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 8, 2012 at 03:40 PM
    I just did my taxes, why did I pay 2600 to fed. and I'm only getting back 500 ? I know people who pay almost no fed taxes and are getting back 1000's because of dependents. When my children were growing up we never got back more than we put into it. I'm just wondering when things changed and what party of idiots changed it.
  • by Lavon Location: Goldsboro on Jan 8, 2012 at 02:32 PM
    Nice win for Obama last night and this morning
    • reply
      by Cboy on Jan 8, 2012 at 02:46 PM in reply to Lavon
      Was he playing golf or basketball?
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jan 8, 2012 at 04:44 PM in reply to Cboy
        Those Clowns in the debates should have been, they accomplished nothing in the debates but gave Obama another win.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Jan 10, 2012 at 05:36 AM in reply to
          A generic Republican candidate now holds a four-point lead over President Obama in a hypothetical Election 2012 matchup. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey for the short holiday week ending Friday, December 30, finds that 47% of Likely U.S. Voters would support the generic Republican candidate if the presidential election were held today, while 43% would vote for Obama. Three percent (3%) prefer some other candidate, and seven percent (7%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording
    • reply
      by Frank Sinatra on Jan 8, 2012 at 03:29 PM in reply to Lavon
      You must mean because he has not taken another vacation......YET
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jan 8, 2012 at 11:00 PM in reply to Frank Sinatra
        Frank, you would complain even if he never took a vacation, even with the time Obama has taken, he still hasn't taken as much vacation time as Mr. Bush has! Did you complain then?
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Jan 8, 2012 at 01:49 PM
    You just have to love the libterds. They fuss about gas prices under bush getting to 4 bucks a gallon yet say nothing now that it has been over 3 dollars a gallon since Obimbo took office. It was a buck sixty when Bush is your weath redistribution going fer ya? Glad they took money and food out of your mouths to pay for foreign middle east countries. Wow, you got it going on. This election is not about you anymore. Thats over with. We saw how well your hopey changey yes we can do thing went. Thanks, but no thanks.
  • by Barlow Location: Winterville on Jan 8, 2012 at 01:12 PM
    Who in their right mind would vote for any one from this party, the very people that almost destroyed this country? Unless you are one of the very few who got away with the money after that heist, why would you want robbed again? I mean even George Bush (as we all know, not the sharpest pencil in the box) would tell you, "Fool me don't get fooled again".
    • reply
      by 40some on Jan 8, 2012 at 05:17 PM in reply to Barlow
      Millions will, just look at the alternative.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jan 8, 2012 at 11:03 PM in reply to 40some
        Keep on dreaming, Obama will be reelected....just look at the voter turnout in Iown. The GOP is screwed.
        • reply
          by Obama Snake Oil co on Jan 9, 2012 at 05:15 AM in reply to
          ON the planet you came from, do you have two headed trees?
  • by Cboy on Jan 8, 2012 at 11:03 AM
    No doubt this bunch is lacking what this country really needs, but the sad part is the worst of this group is better qualified to be president than Obama.
    • reply
      by Senas on Jan 8, 2012 at 03:20 PM in reply to Cboy
      Cboy, with your rocket scietist intelligence, you should run for President in 2016.
      • reply
        by Cboy on Jan 8, 2012 at 05:39 PM in reply to Senas
        Instead of spread the wealth my slogan would be spread the intelligence. That way everyone could be a "rocket scietist".
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jan 8, 2012 at 04:43 PM in reply to Cboy
      Now that's the Dumbest thing I've heard all day, next to Snake Oil rants. Ignorant thinking people like this is whats wrong with this country.
  • by Just facts on Jan 8, 2012 at 07:11 AM
    More drilling..­..that will do it.....wel­l, NO....that oil goes into the internatio­nal market....­.under current market rules we cannot buy and use our own oil. Who did this? Mr. Reagan. Natural­ere are huge extraction issues involving the water table and ground stability. They know this but the simplistic point of view is more easily digestible by many of their base.
    • reply
      by 40some on Jan 8, 2012 at 05:16 PM in reply to Just facts
      With the natural gas, you see the same issues with offshore drilling? Fracking is a terrible thing when it comes to ground water.
  • by Its a no brainer on Jan 8, 2012 at 07:06 AM
    Paul was the only candidate who actually was in a war. The rest just want to send you and your children off to get killed so they can get richer while their kiddies stay home. Oh, they also want to turn back the clock on all women to the time of us being nothing but baby factories, after we are too old or too disabled to have even more human war fodder we can just sit and starve. None want to give any thought to health care, they just want to complain.
    • reply
      by Back on Jan 9, 2012 at 06:28 AM in reply to Its a no brainer
      The last time I heard someone relating to women as you say was right a couple of liberals. And the last time I checked; our military is all volunteer. Let's add the facts that the dems voted for the war also and most liberals were screamiing "do whatever it takes so 911 will not happen again". obama gave plenty of thought to healthcare. 2000 pages of shady, nontransparent wealth redistribution laws that were derived in back rooms by a bunch of liberal groups that did not include doctors, insurance reps, or other groups that would have common sense sayso.
  • by Just tryin to get votes, at our expense on Jan 8, 2012 at 06:58 AM
    Rick Perry wants the United States to go back to war in Iraq, and commended President Obama for bringing the troops home. How about Perry send his children/family in first. How about he join the army as a grunt and goes back in himself. He'll soon change his mind then.
    • reply
      by Obama Snake Oil Co on Jan 8, 2012 at 01:50 PM in reply to Just tryin to get votes, at our expense
      If you buy koolaid in bulk, you get a better really shows.
      • reply
        by Peter on Jan 8, 2012 at 05:15 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
        Obama Snake Oil Co probably served his country as a Tug Boat Captain, Tank Commander, Oil Can Executive Officer, Coffee Cup Commandant, Left Handed Screwdriver Instructor, and least but not last, a Keyboard Commando. Thanks for yor service.
  • by Non affiliated on Jan 8, 2012 at 06:07 AM
    This is worse than a bunch of 1st graders fighting in the school yard. And not much more mature.
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