We don’t know exactly where and we don’t know exactly when, but Iowa Republican Party Chairman Matt Strawn announced today a co-sponsor for its third debate leading up to the Iowa Caucuses in early February, 2012.  What we know for certain is that, Lord Willng, the debate will be broadcast on ABC network TV sometime the weekend of December 10th, later this year, at an undisclosed location in Des Moines (perhaps near the elephants at Blank Park Zoo)!

This may be the last debate before the Iowa Caucuses, the first week of February. Candidates usually shy away from debates too close to voting, figuring they may need time afterwards to recover from any gaffes they commit (of course, time might make it worse). The GOP has scheduled two other debates, one in Sioux City, and the other in Ames right before the Iowa Straw Poll in August.

So far, only Tim Pawlenty and Herman Cain have filed exploratory committee paperwork, making official the possibility of them running for president. Yes, it would be official: they might run. Michele Bachmann announced she’s starting to form a committee that might be ready by June.  Newt Gingrich is exploring the possibility of an exploratory committee. Rick Santorum has been booted off Fox News cause everybody knows he has been running for about eight years now.  Dittos with Mitt Romney.  Who knows when and if Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin will announce they might announce?  Haley Barbour keeps hiring staff away from other candidates but hasn’t even discussed the possibility of an exploratory committee.

If you love politics, this debate will be fun.  We don’t know for sure who will be debating   But we do know that Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos will moderate (is it possible to use the word “moderate” with this pair!?)   It will also be thrilling to find out when ABC plans to announce its announcement about the exact date and location.  Dragging things out seems to be in vogue during slow political news seasons.

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