Editor's note: Overheard on CNN.com is a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community. Watch the CNN-sponsored GOP presidential debate at 8 p.m. ET, and share your insights on CNN iReport and in the comments area below.
Tonight's debate, the 11th for Republicans so far, features the contenders squaring off on national security and foreign policy just a few blocks from the White House. The spotlight this time is on Newt Gingrich, who appears to be the new front-runner in the polls.
Lots of readers were eager to weigh in on the GOP and the debate. Some said they would welcome Gingrich as the presidential nominee, such as commenter Regents85:
"Here's the truth. Obama's in trouble and the Dems know it. They can only hope Gingrich is not the nominee because he will make Obama look like the incompetent fool that he is. If your boy Clinton can overcome his personal indiscretions and still be worshiped as some Democratic god, Newt can too. Gingrich has already come up with a solution for Social Security. What has Obama done?"
There were some who weren't so sure. "Gingrich is unelectable, replied ReturnofMrsN. "Go ahead and run him. The media firestorm will be relentless."
Others say it could be interesting, such as commenter Davel:
"If Newt's the Republican pick, these are going to be some fantastic debates between him and Obama. It will be the two parties stripped down to their real beliefs and saying what they really mean. And both are articulate, educated people. A Gingrich/Obama debate will be great to watch."
We did receive quite a few comments critical both of Gingrich and his fellow candidates. Many of the readers who've taken the time to write out their thoughts have expressed a lot of dissatisfaction with the current Republican lineup. Of course, it's hard to say just how well these posts actually represent the views of the overall population, but one need only glance at a sampling of the reaction we've gotten to recent stories.
"The fact that a person like Gingrich can be the front-runner for the GOP indicates that the GOP is broken and it is the GOP that is causing broken government," said paschani.
"Gingrich is just the latest 'not Romney,' " wrote JHarris. "He will implode like the rest have."
We'd love to hear your take on the candidates, whether you want to talk about Gingrich or someone else. Let us know what you think below.
In regards to the topic of the debate itself, national security and foreign policy, CNN took a look at each of the candidates individually. We saw some pretty vocal opinions in that section, but this exchange stood out:
Phil in KC: "Huntsman would win this one hands-down if the audience were anyone other than a bunch of right-wing Republicans. I don't totally disagree with Romney. I don't totally agree, but I don't completely disagree. Same for Gingrich. The rest are just plain dangerous, and Cain is a joke."
Common Sense: "You don't totally disagree with Romney because Romney picks two sides to every issue."
Speaking of Jon Huntsman, the candidate wrote an opinion article that ran today and many readers said they were impressed with him, but some added they thought he had little chance of becoming the GOP nominee.
Seenen: "Jon Huntsman is by far and away the most qualified of the Republican candidates, not to mention the most reasonable, which is why he is stuck in single digits. He is a centrist and an intellectual at the time the conservative base wants red meat and ignorance."
jrm03063: "Seriously, doesn't he seem more like a Blue Dog than a Republican?"
"Fellow Republicans, we must nominate this guy," said pt8685. "He's the only one who takes the world seriously. All the other candidates are Washington insiders (Gingrich, Bachmann, Santorum) or marginal players (Cain). Romney is an empty suit with no fire in his belly. Only Huntsman has the smarts, passion, experience and appeal to beat Obama."
Sunnysmom was among many Democrats who said they might support Huntsman. "Jon Huntsman is the best GOP candidate out there. I'm a Dem, but I would listen to him and consider voting for him if he made a good case. But because he's not sensational enough, the GOP won't consider him. Too bad, he may just be the one who could actually beat Obama."
"This guy is intelligent, passionate and level-headed," said Fiber185. "We really do need to elect this guy to straighten out our worldly problems, and please, take a look at what he has done as governor; he is a productive leader with conservative values."
So what about the other candidates? What about Romney? Glad you asked.
Mitt Romney mentioned that he was looking at several possible running mates, and dropped the name of New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte (who was sitting next to him) as one of those people during an interview with Fox News. We saw mixed feedback on Ayotte.
Dennis: "Good God, I am from New Hampshire, and this would be the equivalent of John McCain picking Sarah Palin. What part of stupid don't these people understand? Are they trying to lose before they even get started?"
Rinos for Winos: "John McCain tried pandering for the woman vote and that did not work out so well. But of course he chose Palin instead of Ayotte. Maybe she is more sane then Palin."
tamashi: "It is so funny to see the almost virulent and irrational hatred towards Mittens, which just shows some people just cannot get any love. People are attacking Mitt for just giving out all possible names of VPs he'd consider, hahahhahahaha. And he was sitting right next to (Ayotte), so he was doing the polite thing and called her name out too. Take a chill pill, people."
Commenters on this story were all over the place about Romney, with some very supportive and others opposed, and others not sure.
R:Â "Mitt, I like. However, pandering to the ultra-conservative fringe ... bad move. Be proud of being moderate. The country YEARNS for moderation. Until both sides of the aisle embrace some moderation, these stand-off tactics are keeping us from moving forward with dealing effectively with getting our economy back on track. Meanwhile, the ranks of the poor increase and the wealthy and corporate interests continue to get their way. Sign no pledges, answer to the people, REAL people, and you will gather the support and hearts of the true Americans. You want some momentum? Ditch the fascists!"
Sue: "Mitt Romney 2012! Time to put intelligence, competence and ethics in our White House again! It is time to make our economy and country number one again."
Joe: "This guy can pander and weasel like no candidate I've ever seen before. And with his track record of flip-flops, why would anyone take seriously any 'hints' that he drops on any subject? Give me a break."
Finally, we'll take a look at Herman Cain, another contender from the GOP who recently made headlines.
The businessman and former Godfather's Pizza CEO and radio talk show host put his name to the Susan B. Anthony List's "Pro-Life Presidential Leadership Pledge" on Tuesday. Our commenters gave a harsh appraisal of Cain, but once again it's worth mentioning that it's hard to tell if this crowd is representative or not.
Anon:Â "This is exactly the sort of person that should not ever be elected to any office, no matter how small. When you sign these pledges, you are saying that you will do what the special interest group wants. Further, a candidate like this is saying they are unwilling to compromise, unwilling to question themselves and their stances. It is people like this getting into office that got our country into the mess it is in."
Ryguy:Â "What's the difference between dumping a baby into a Dumpster and having it aborted? It's not 'your' body. The fetus has its own body. Not sure of how to treat the rape and incest issues, but for those who are a willing participant in the act to create a baby should know that its not all 'fun and games.' Act like an adult. Take responsibility and realize that your parents could have aborted you."
And with that, there's clearly a spirited readership out there waiting to see what happens tonight and during election season. What do you think of the candidates and these stories?
Join the conversation about the debate - as it happens - in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or share your opinion on video via CNN iReport.
Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.