Tim Pawlenty just left office after his second term as Governor of Minnesota. He is popular with the Republican Party establishment and has a successful record as governor, although many of his positions are outside of the norm of the party and unpopular with fiscal conservatives. He has been a supporter of unions and socialized medicine and combines fiscally moderate positions with strongly socially conservative views. He has earned praise for successfully balancing his state budget and for his pro-business policies as governor.
Rick Santorum served two terms as Senator from Pennsylvania and two terms in Congress representing suburban Pittsburgh. He is Roman Catholic and has a reputation as an extreme religious conservative. He tried to legislate the teaching of intelligent design at the federal level and has made controversial statements on a variety of social issues. He is known for his aggressive and confrontational style and for not shying away from controversial positions.
For another view on the debating candidates see The Washington Post.
Where are the Frontrunners?
Several potential candidates who are viewed by many as frontrunners in the GOP primary did not qualify for the debate or chose not to enter. Some of them have not officially filed exploratory committees or are not polling over 1% in recent polls, or just didn't want to pay the $25,000 entry fee. They include Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney and Donald Trump who have relatively high poll rankings and others like Mitch Daniels, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann and Newt Gingrich. Huckabee, Romney and Trump have high media profiles but there are serious questions about their electability in the primary or in a general election against President Obama.
Watch While You Chat
The debate will be broadcast live on FoxNews starting at 9pm. If you don't have cable then you can watch the broadcast through the live stream on the Fox Website. The chat application is below. It will also be accessible through several other sponsoring websites. You can even embed it on your site if you like. You can also download the client App and join the chat on your smartphone. Search for CoverIt Live.