Romney, Cain enter tonight's debate as front-runners, polls show
The CNN/Western Republican debate is set for Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET in Las Vegas.
October 18th, 2011
06:32 PM ET

Romney, Cain enter tonight's debate as front-runners, polls show

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain enter Tuesday night's CNN/Western Republican debate as the leaders of the race for the GOP presidential nomination, according to national polls.

Romney, Cain and five other candidates will participate in the debate, moderated by CNN's Anderson Cooper, starting at 8 p.m. ET at the Sands Expo and Convention Center and the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The debate will be shown on CNN, the CNN mobile apps and

The public can suggest questions for the candidates through this form, or through the CNN Politics fan page on Facebook, or by using the #CNNDebate hashtag on Twitter.

According to a CNN/ORC International poll released Monday, 26% of respondents said they are likely to support Romney, who is making his second bid for the White House. Cain was at 25%, and Romney's margin was well within the poll's sampling error. Texas Gov. Rick Perry was third, at 13%. Separately, a CNN poll of polls indicated that Romney was on top of the field at 23%, with Cain three points behind and Perry - who was a front-runner in the national polls from late August through much of September - at 14%.

Expect rivals to use Tuesday's debate as an opportunity to hammer at both front-runners (Cain over his "9-9-9" tax plan, which recently has helped him rise in the polls, and Romney, in part because he's been at the top of the polls for so long), CNN's Paul Steinhauser writes. Cain says he can feel a bull's-eye on his back, and that he's prepared to go after Romney.

Besides the three candidates already mentioned, the event will feature U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas; U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.

One of the candidates, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, is skipping the debate because, he says, he is taking New Hampshire's side in a fight with Nevada over when to schedule New Hampshire's primary and Nevada's caucuses. New Hampshire law dictates that its first-in-the-nation primary be held at least one week before a similar contest, and this is being complicated by Nevada's decision to hold its caucuses on January 14.

CNN's Truth Squad will be checking the veracity of some of the claims made at the debate. Return to this blog Wednesday morning for the results, and check out the fact-checking from last week's GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire.

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Filed under: Las Vegas • Nevada • Politics • Republican Party
soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. Scottish Mama

    Drak you really need a computer.

    October 19, 2011 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  2. Scottish Mama

    Whoa. Never go after a womans child, but philip knows that. He was trying to get their goat.

    October 19, 2011 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    Sorry folks, I was spending a few minutes looking for a good movie. After that whole Sarandon thing today, wouldn't you know it, Witches of Eastwick is on.

    October 19, 2011 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      It kind of reminded me of the Jane fonda in vietnam moment. People say and do weird stuff al the time and change their mind or caught off guard or just being goofy or saying not the politically correct words.

      October 19, 2011 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. Scottish Mama

    Go to best buy and get a laptop. Their not too much are they?

    October 19, 2011 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    this is where the troll would post a name like Ravi and ask "Explain to me about this goat."

    October 19, 2011 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. skip

    My only gripe about these republican debates concerns the bias exhibited by the moderators. They strike me as being leaning a "tiny" bit towards the Dems. Perhaps it is just me but that is how I personally see these debates. Fox news folks were no better to be honest. It's bad enough that I don't trust Congress one iota to quit running for reelection but actually work at saving our economy and I expect the media to be the "honest brokers" . The public is not well served. Society deserves better because this great democracy of ours is going to hell in a hand basket. Americans only want the truth about all the issues before us yet the media is more concerned about hype rather than being honest with the voters.

    October 19, 2011 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Ratings. Where is Walter Cronkite when ya need him?

      October 19, 2011 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Bimbo the Birthday Clown

      Says the Canadian sticking his big red nose into it –

      There is so much planning and preparation heading into these things, and they are so skilled at dodging the questions, it is sadly almost impossible to get a good read on any candidate in any debate.

      October 19, 2011 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    It's like the elementary school playground. Find out what buttons you can push with which people.

    October 19, 2011 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      So what questions would you have them ask. They have where you can tweet or facebook a question to Anderson before the Debate.

      October 19, 2011 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Bimbo the Birthday Clown

      I will admit bringing the public in does have the potential to liven up the format, but how does CNN decide which questions to use?

      October 19, 2011 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Seems to be the most sensational at the time. I sed to like Tim Russert, he did not beat around the bush and he did not care who you were. He was so popular that you had to go on his show or he would just keep digging to expose you and say it on the air.

      October 19, 2011 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  8. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    Last night Memento was on. Man, what a great film. I thought I might get lucky again.

    October 19, 2011 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  9. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    Well, my wife is home from work, so that's it for me. Later all (or both).

    October 19, 2011 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  10. Scottish Mama

    I think I will tun in also it is midnight and I will turn into a pumpkin. Nite BTBC and Drak, nice chatting with you both.

    October 19, 2011 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  11. ~I am not David~


    October 19, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  12. steve anon

    RON PAUL 2012

    October 19, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. woogy1

    I see from the lack of reporting about Dr Ron Paul that he probably once again won your poll. This is such a rigged game. The fix is in and the big money controls the media, picks the winners, and the people get stuck with the same old crap just a different flavor. Nothing really gets fixed. So dishonest. We are screwed once again. Thanks for nothing CNN

    October 20, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  14. Doveab

    I agree - Herman Cain is the man for president!!!!

    November 4, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jim Kane

    The ONLY candidate who spoke is going to get our country back on track is Ron Paul. Cain doesn't have a clue about foriegn affars either. Romney is pandering to us. Perry believes illrgals need subsidies. Gingrich is a product of bureaucracy.
    Only Paul has been right about the direction of this country for decades. The only hope for We the People are to return to individual liberty, the strength of our rights and sound money.

    November 22, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
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