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June 02. 2011 11:22PM

7 possible GOP presidential hopefuls will debate June 13

MANCHESTER — Seven potential Republican presidential nominees have agreed to meet this month in the first New Hampshire debate of the 2012 election.

The event is sponsored by the New Hampshire Union Leader, CNN and WMUR.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, businessman Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum will debate on June 13 in Sullivan Arena at St. Anselm College.

This is the first time that Bachmann, Gingrich and Romney will appear in a 2012 presidential debate.

CNN's John King will moderate the debate. Questions will be asked by two veteran Union Leader reporters, State House Bureau Chief Tom Fahey and Senior Political Reporter John DiStaso, and by WMUR reporters.

The nationally broadcast debate takes place eight months before the New Hampshire primary. It will air live from 8 to 10 p.m. on WMUR and CNN.

Invitations were extended to 13 prominent Republicans. In addition to the seven who have agreed to debate, Mitch Daniels, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Jon Huntsman, Sarah Palin and Donald Trump were on the list.

Palin, who appeared in New Hampshire yesterday as part of a campaign-style bus tour, told WMUR, "I don't think I'll be able to be there. Thanks for asking, though." Giuliani and Huntsman turned down their invitations. Daniels, Huckabee and Trump decided not to run.


CNN, WMUR and the New Hampshire Union Leader created objective criteria to determine who would participate in the New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate. The debate partners determined that the definition of a candidate was a person who was taking substantive steps towards a presidential run and reached a minimum threshold in national or state polls. Participants had three different opportunities to be eligible to take part in the debate:

  • A candidate must have received an average of at least 2.00 % in at least three national polls released between April 1 and April 30 that were conducted by the following: ABC, AP, Bloomberg, CBS, CNN, FOX, Gallup, Los Angeles Times, Marist, McClatchy, NBC, Newsweek, Pew, Quinnipiac, Reuters, USA Today and Time.


  • A candidate must have received an average of at least 2.00 % in at least three national polls released between May 1 and May 31 that were conducted by the following: ABC, AP, Bloomberg, CBS, CNN, FOX, Gallup, Los Angeles Times, Marist, McClatchy, NBC, Newsweek, Pew, Quinnipiac, Reuters, USA Today and Time.


  • A candidate must have received an average of at least 2.00 % in polls of New Hampshire voters conducted by the UNH Survey Center released between May 1 and May 31.


CNN, WMUR and the Union Leader hosted the first Granite State presidential debates at Saint Anselm in 2007 -- events that helped introduce the Republican and Democratic candidates to voters in New Hampshire and around the nation.


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