First Republican presidential debate planned for next spring

November 11, 2010

Okay here we go again. Now that the 2010 elections are behind us, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2012. And so today we have former first lady Nancy Reagan GERALD FORDannouncing plans to invite Republican candidates to the first presidential debate. It’s to be held next spring at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California.

Setting up the first debate could have the net effect of forcing some would-be candidates who are sitting back and testing the political winds to go ahead and make a decision on whether they will run. We’re talking about you, Sarah Palin.

“Ronnie would be thrilled that the road to the White House will begin at his presidential library,” Mrs. Reagan said in a statement. “I look forward to welcoming and watching the top candidates debate the issues next spring.”

NBC News and Politico are to co-host the debate, which will be followed by a second debate at the Reagan library on the eve of Super Tuesday of 2012 when the Republican primary campaign will be on full boil.

Now that we have the first debate set, the big question will be: Who is going to attend?

Lots of names spring to mind — Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, maybe Palin, Newt Gingrich. Many Republicans have said they are considering a run to challenge President Obama in 2012. We’ll see some providing their final decision late this year or early next.

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron (Reagan, his fellow ex-presidents and President George H.W. Bush at the opening of the Reagan presidential library in 1991)

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