The Republican presidential debates of 2011 have served as high-stakes introductions for several of the party’s Oval Office hopefuls as the Republican field slowly expanded this summer.
Now, it’s Rick Perry’s turn.
Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon M. Huntsman Jr., Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum — during a debate at the Reagan library in Simi Valley, Calif.
But none of his rivals will be under the microscope — or wearing as large a target — as Mr. Perry. In three short weeks since becoming a candidate, Mr. Perry has become the new front-runner and the media focus on his record and his comments has robbed the other candidates of political oxygen.
As a result, Mr. Perry enters the debate, which begins at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, with a lot to gain from a solid performance, but also a lot to lose — among donors, activists, the Republican establishment — if he stumbles or seems out of the mainstream.
More on what to watch for from the New York Times.....