In A Campaign Defined By Debates, Some Moments That Really Mattered

Republican presidential candidates participate in one of the campaign's earliest debates, Aug. 11, 2011, in Ames, Iowa. i i

hide captionRepublican presidential candidates participate in one of the campaign's earliest debates, Aug. 11, 2011, in Ames, Iowa.

Charlie Neibergall/AP
Republican presidential candidates participate in one of the campaign's earliest debates, Aug. 11, 2011, in Ames, Iowa.

Republican presidential candidates participate in one of the campaign's earliest debates, Aug. 11, 2011, in Ames, Iowa.

Charlie Neibergall/AP

On All Things Considered, NPR's Don Gonyea prepares for tonight's Republican presidential debate — by some counts the 19th of the campaign season — by taking a quick look back at debate highlights, and some lowlights, so far.

From its earliest days last summer, the 2012 campaign has defied prediction. Three states have voted so far, producing three different winners in the early battle for the GOP presidential nomination.

Gonyea notes that this cycle, one factor does stand above all others in driving the dynamics of the race for the GOP nomination — televised debates.

Tonight's debate in Florida is the last before that state's Jan. 31 primary. NPR's Mark Memmott will be live blogging the debate here.

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