Maybe it was the Tea Party Express influence or maybe it was just being in Tampa where Republicans hold their presidential nominating convention next year.
But the atmosphere at Monday’s Republican debate had the festive feel of a major sporting event and the stars of the game were the eight candidates vying for the party’s 2012 presidential nomination.
The pregame show began with a video introduction of “tonight’s players”…
Michele Bachmann: The Firebrand
Mitt Romney: The Early Front-Runner
Rick Perry: The Newcomer
Jon M. Huntsman Jr.: The Diplomat
Ron Paul: The Libertarian
Herman Cain: The Businessman
Newt Gingrich: The Big Thinker
Rick Santorum: The Fighter
The audience was packed with Tea Party conservatives cheering them on and the action began on stage after singer Diana Nagy sang the national anthem.