For all the carping about how there are too many Republican presidential debates, I’m actually looking forward to No. 11. It’s been more than three weeks since the gloves came off in CNN’s Las Vegas debate and the field has shifted significantly since then. Now there’s really only one thing dominating the GOP’s 2012 race and that’s Herman Cain’s potentially dubious sexual past. Here are five things to look for in CNBC’s debate tonight in Michigan:
Who will go after Cain? So far Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum are the only candidates who’ve gone negative on the embattled candidate. Bachmann slyly suggested that “this year we can’t have any surprises with our candidate,” and Santorum called on Cain to “be “forthcoming so that you are vetted.” Mitt Romney, looking to pick up Cain supporters and keep the rest of the field competing with each other, has simply said it’s a distraction — a sentiment Cain agreed with last night. But with blood in the water, will the others–Rick Perry? Newt Gingrich?–circle in for the kill?
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Is this Newt’s moment? Washington insiders say the former Speaker will be the next candidate to get a serious look from conservative voters. He came off as the adult in the room in the last debate. Can he break out tonight?