Here’s CNN’s teaser:
And then there were four.
The four major Republican presidential candidates face off Thursday night in the CNN-Southern Republican debate in Charleston, in the final showdown before Saturday’s crucial South Carolina primary.
– Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney: He has been the frontrunner in the Palmetto State but four polls released over the last two days indicate his lead is just about gone.
– Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich: Those same surveys indicate he is surging and is basically knotted up with Romney for the top spot. Gingrich on Thursday grabbed a major endorsement as Texas Gov. Rick Perry suspended his bid for the White House and backed Gingrich.
– Former Sen. Rick Santorum: He got a boost Thursday as the Iowa GOP released the final certified results from its January 3 caucuses, indicating that Santorum topped Romney by 34 votes. The initial results from the contest that kicked off the presidential primary and caucus calendar had Romney edging out Santorum by eight votes.
– Rep. Ron Paul of Texas: He had a solid third-place finish in Iowa and a strong second-place finish last week in New Hampshire, but according to political pundits Paul had somewhat of a difficult time at Monday night’s debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
With the stage down to four candidates, each man will get plenty of time to talk and to take on his rivals for the nomination.
Tune in Thursday at 8 p.m. ET for the CNN-Southern Republican Presidential Debate hosted by John King and follow it on Twitter at #CNNDebate. For real-time coverage of the South Carolina primary, go to CNNPolitics.com or to the CNN apps or CNN mobile web site.
And as always, have at it in the comments!