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South Carolina GOP Debate Open Thread

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By Doug Powers  •  November 12, 2011 06:26 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

Tonight the Republican field faces off yet again, this time in Spartanburg, South Carolina in a debate sponsored by CBS News and National Journal.

The debate will be moderated by Major Garrett and Scott Pelley while Bob Scheiffer stands guard at the door to berate Mark Block whenever he ducks outside for a smoke.

The focus this time around will be on national security and foreign policy.

You can watch live here starting at 8 p.m. EST. Estimated time of arrival of Rick Perry’s first self-deprecating joke about brain freeze: 8:04 p.m. (Update: It took longer than that, but it did happen)

Here’s the latest Real Clear Politics national average:

Romney: 22.5
Cain: 22.0
Gingrich: 14.2
Perry: 9.8
Paul: 8.2
Bachmann: 3.7
Santorum: 1.5
Huntsman: 1

A new McClatchy-Marist poll of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents puts Gingrich in second nationally.

Here’s a snapshot of South Carolina. With the state’s primary just over two months away, the Herminator has taken the lead:

Cain: 25.5
Romney: 21.5
Gingrich: 13
Perry: 8.8
Paul: 6
Bachmann: 3.5
Santorum: 1.3
Huntsman: 1

Enjoy the night and weigh in with your thoughts on the debate. I’ll post updates along the way as the goings-on warrant.

Update: There will be two additional questioners:

Sen. Jim DeMint, a member of the Committee on Foreign Relations and Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Committee on Armed Services, will each ask questions at the debate.

Another note: The debate is only one hour long. Divide that by eight candidates and that’s only 7.5 minutes per candidate, assuming they’re fair on time. Take out the introduction, moderator questions, mid and an end station breaks, and we’ll get maybe five minutes from each candidate, if that. Not enough time considering the topics at hand.

Update II: Turns out there is an extra hour to the debate that will air in select markets. But if you’re in a place where it’s not carried it’ll be online here.

Update III: Here’s the debate in its entirety:

**Written by Doug Powers

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