It’s been hard to say one debate stands out from another in the seemingly endless round of Republican presidential primary debates. But one’s on tap tonight that is definitely in a separate category. Formally, it’s all the same; in context, it’s entirely different. All the other remaining candidates have fallen far into the background and this is the first debate with Newt Gingrich as the clear frontrunner (he leads nationally and in every early state beside New Hampshire) and Team Romney trying everything at their disposal to take him down before time runs out.
Everyone always assumed this contest would come down to Mitt versus some non-Mitt.
What I don’t think many figured was that Mitt would so clearly be behind.
We’ll have live coverage tonight.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.