On Saturday night, eight Republican candidates will gather in South Carolina for the 10th presidential debate — and much will be riding on the outcome.
More than in previous years, the televised presidential debates have exerted outsize influence on the tone and direction of the campaign, with each one seeming to have more influence over the course of the contest than the last one.
Gov. Rick Perry of Texas will have another chance to either prove he can recover from historic stumbles — including his nearly minute-long spell of forgetfulness on Wednesday — or cement his reputation as one of the worst presidential debaters.
Jon M. Huntsman Jr., a former ambassador to China, could shine since the debate is intended to focus on foreign policy. And Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, gets another chance to do something other than criticize the news media for asking terrible questions.
And all of the candidates will be presented with another huge audience — the debate on Wednesday was the most popular cable program in its time slot.