All Eyes on the Sunshine State

The 2012 GOP presidential candidates had eventful weekends. Rick Perry was in Iowa. Michele Bachmann went on Jay Leno and spoke at the California Republican Convention. Ron Paul won the Straw Poll at same convention. Herman Cain was in South Carolina, touting his “9-9-9” economic plan and calling for reforms at the United Nations. Jon Huntsman went to Clemson and the University of South Carolina to watch college football. 

This week, the 2012 field will migrate to Florida, where there will be three significant events. On Thursday, the GOP candidates will debate, which will be sponsored by FOX News and Google. On Friday, immediately after the debate, the candidates will give approximately 15 minute speeches at Florida’s CPAC. And on Saturday, the “Presidency V” Florida Straw Poll will be conducted.  

Thursday, September 22: FOX News/Google Debate

What to look for: Besides the social security discussion that will likely dominate the debate, what may be more interesting is who among Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, and Michele Bachmann get confronted more throughout the night. 

Friday, September 23: CPAC Florida

What to look for: It will be interesting to see how the presidential candidates adjust their standard stump speeches on the fly to take into account the storylines from the night before. Will candidates continue to litigate issues from the night before?

Saturday, September 24: Presidency V Straw Poll 

The Straw Poll has not been as hyped as the Ames Straw Poll, but if Rick Perry wins, it will give him more ammunition to say that his blunt talk on social security may not hurt him as much among Republican primary voters, even in a state like Florida.