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First 2012 Debate Coming This Spring To Reagan Library

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Newscom

Republicans running for president face a different climate. Though they just won big in the mid-terms, their party remains split between tea party conservatives and establishment figures, a split that is expected to carry through the 2012 race.

And the Democrats still have a strong nominee in President Obama, who all expect to seek a second term. Though Obama has lost some of his 2008 luster, he's still the nation's first African American president and an inspiration for his party. No one -- except for maybe the most pumped-up tea partier -- believes defeating Obama will be an easy task.

The biggest question about the Spring debate at this point is who will attend from the many, many Republicans mentioned as possible presidential candidates in the past two years. More to the point, the biggest question is will Sarah Palin attend. Her potential run for the nomination has dominated the Republican presidential storyline since John McCain lost to Obama in 2008, and if Palin shows up to stake her claim as the tea party's candidate early on, it could change the dynamics of things quite a bit.