GOP hopefuls will face off in CNN Tea Party Debate
September 1st, 2011
10:30 AM ET
12 years ago

GOP hopefuls will face off in CNN Tea Party Debate

Washington (CNN) – Eight Republicans vying for support from tea party activists will face off later this month in a CNN presidential debate cosponsored by the Tea Party Express and tea party organizations representing every state in the nation.

The "Tea Party Republican Debate" will take place Sept. 12th in Tampa, Florida – the host city for the 2012 Republican National Convention. Florida is also a key state in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer will moderate the debate, which will feature questions from guests inside the hall as well as from people attending viewing parties around the country. It will be broadcast live nationally on CNN, CNN en Español and CNN Radio, around the world on CNN International, CNN en Español and streamed on

Since CNN's June 13th presidential debate in New Hampshire, the Republican primary field has changed with one major candidate withdrawing from the race, while another formally declared his candidacy.

Last month, Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced he would run for the GOP nomination, joining Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, businessman Herman Cain, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman on stage in Tampa.

CNN crafted objective criteria – modeled after criteria the network used at the June debate – to determine who would be eligible to participate in the Sept. 12th debate. Participants needed to achieve a minimum 2 percent threshold in an average of national primary polls to be invited to the debate.

The full criteria can be found here.

Invitations were extended to the eight Republicans who will appear on stage in Tampa as well as former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Giuliani declined the debate invitation, while a Palin representative has yet to respond to it. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty was also invited to the debate, but he dropped out of the race last month after a disappointing showing in the Iowa Republican straw poll.

soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    I wouldn't listen to the lies and hate-filled rhetoric if the Koch Brothers paid me.

    My life is filled with positive and good - not fear - and I've worn out one PC already just fact-checking that group of liars.

    September 1, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  2. Tex71

    The lesser of eight evils..?

    September 1, 2011 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  3. Tom

    The circus is coming to town, the circus is coming to town!!!

    September 1, 2011 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  4. Texas Doc

    Let 'em fight it out. Given the Tea Party's "popularity" it is funny how they are falling alll over themselves to get the Nazi/Tea party vote.

    September 1, 2011 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  5. andres

    It is a shame the the republicans will nominate an unelectible whacko this time around. The amazing disregard for the citizens of the US that both parties engaged in this summer ought not to be forgotten. I will not pull the lever for any incumbent next fall.

    September 1, 2011 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  6. Howard

    CAUTION ...

    This morning, David Plouffe, one of Obama's
    stooges, sent out an email informing Americans
    of a new email service where by we will soon be
    able to petition the President directly, online, with
    our concerns.

    I for one, would never take a chance of having my
    identity, and email address, showing up on Obama's
    hit list of people who oppose him.

    September 1, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. Rick Walker

    I would like to see NAFTA talked about in the upcomming debate. Is not NAFTA considered to be a job killer in the U.S. ?
    I have not seen any candidate comment on it.

    September 1, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  8. sammieb51

    I hope they ask Rick Perry what he is doing in his own state re: the historic drought, the condition of the education system in his state, and why the many jobs created in his state are all minimum wage jobs.

    September 1, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  9. Sniffit

    "Debate" = Joint GOP ideology advertising and Obama bashing hour.

    September 1, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  10. Mike in SA

    I support the Tea Party in general, but if the Tea Party Express is in any way front and center on this...I think I'll pass.

    September 1, 2011 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  11. Pseudo

    Is Gov. Gary Johnson invited to this debate? If he is, I might just watch it. Oh, I forgot... we're not supposed to talk about Gary Johnson.

    September 1, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  12. Whoosh

    This is an effort in futility, a waste of time, an Obama bashing covering up there ineptness. We know the ending of this before it get started. "Obama failed at this...he's the worst since...He caused the worst...He squaneured all of the Bush area surplus...He's a "you name it" and on and on and on ad nauseam.
    I for one am so sick of these clowns who bring empty baskets to the picnic and then eat all the food. Simpletons! At least SP is getting her stupid arse the yell out of the country before the debate. Wish she would stay out. Moronette

    September 1, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  13. James

    I'm excitedly waiting for this to watch Ron Paul beat the crap out of Santorum publicly again. I wonder if he's read up on history yet?

    September 1, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. Sue

    Lets hope CNN bites the bullet and reports honestly and without bias – and we hear the names of the ones that win like Ron Paul said more than once.

    September 1, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  15. JR White Bear Lake MN.

    I hope Michelle can turn things around or she'll be back in MN. by Christmas........and we don't want her!!

    September 1, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  16. Jill-IN

    from Indiana – we won't be watching the debate show. Such a bunch of clowns.

    September 1, 2011 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  17. ConservaFASCISTS/TEAliban/TEAhadists

    How can you have a debate amongst people who don't believe in FACTS?

    September 1, 2011 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. Yowza

    Can you imagine the poor sap that has to drive that Tea Party bus around the country, and have everyone looking at you thinking "What a derelict"?

    September 1, 2011 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  19. Out of Texas

    This will be nothing but a two hour Obama bashing pep rally. Absolutely no solutions for the nation's problems will be offered.

    September 1, 2011 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  20. Max

    Why does the tea party remind me of Gov. George Wallace in his early days?

    September 1, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  21. Justin

    Seems to me a republican led congress has nothing to gain if the economy improves before next year. Sad but true.

    September 1, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  22. Kent Williams

    Hopefully those in the Tea Party will be able to separate the real deal Ron Paul from the phonies. Look at their voting records and you'll see there's only one person who has been consistent.

    September 1, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  23. Rickster

    Every candidate that participates in these Republican debates would be a far, far better president than Obama and, make no mistake, whoever wins the republican nomination is going to be the next President of the United States.

    September 1, 2011 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  24. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Sara Palin is running away from debates, she running all the way to South Korea. That will serve as her excuse for not jumping in, then she'll come back claiming to have international experience. What a joke, she's trying to find as many excuses possible to avoid debates.

    September 1, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  25. Ed Texas

    It's embarrassing for the United States that we have one political party full of extreme right wing candidates that offer no solutions like creating good jobs, not just the minimum, low wage, no benefit jobs Rick Perry claims he created in Texas. Instead they will all gather together and complain about the President and the terrible economy created by one of their own, George Dubya Bush. Over 60% of the National Debt is the result of the Bush tax cuts, two unfunded wars, and the prescription drub unfunded benefit. We are still paying for the GOPs mistakes.

    September 1, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |