Tonight’s CNN/Tea Party Express debate in Tampa will afford the rest of the Republican field another chance to gang up on frontrunner Rick Perry. In the aftermath of his debut at the Reagan Library, the Texas governor has been taking heat about his stand on Social Security. So it’s expected that his closest rival Mitt Romney will be hammering him on that issue and that others, such as Michele Bachmann will join in the fun.
Tonight’s gathering might afford Bachmann an opportunity to make up some ground on Perry who has largely stole her thunder among the Tea Partiers who make up her base. But if she fails to gain ground or become the center of attention as she was in earlier debates, Bachmann, who has slipped badly in the polls since Perry’s entry, may be finished.
Most of all, the proceedings will give the public another good long look at Perry. Will he attack again as he did last week? Will he stumble or make a gaffe that will give Romney or the others an opening? Or will he solidify his impressive lead in the polls. We’re about to find out.