Sunlight Live team to cover GOP national security debate


The Republican Presidential candidates will meet this Tuesday in the nation’s capital to debate national security, just as they did in South Carolina just two weeks ago. Tuesday's debate will be hosted by CNN and sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute and the Sunlight Live team will cover it.

Over the course of October and November, Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, saw a peak in his poll numbers. During the week of Oct. 21, Cain polled at 26 percent, but has since been slipping. The one-time poll leader is now at 19 percent. Meanwhile, though Cain’s campaign has raised nearly $5 million, which ranks in the middle of the pack, it pales in comparison to the resources of Perry and Romney.

In the most recent polls, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich replaced Cain as Romney’s most immediate challenger. Gingrich is polling at 20 percent, statistically even with Romney. However, Gingrich's war chest is much smaller than Romney's and the other leading candidates. Gingrich’s campaign has raised about $3 million, whereas Romney has raised more than $30 million.

Texas Governor Rick Perry enjoyed a quick surge in the polls after he first entered the race, but after repeated debate gaffes, his polling numbers have since dropped to 8 percent. However, he is still the second highest fundraiser to Romney; Perry’s campaign has raised almost $18 million.

Perry’s stance on immigration is a topic that could potentially be explored in CNN’s national security debate. Perry has bucked mainstream Republican thinking to pass a form of the DREAM Act in Texas. The legislation provides a legal path to citizenship for undocumented workers and in-state tuition for undocumented minors.  

Meanwhile, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney continues to lead in both the polls and fundraising. He is currently polling at 21 percent and has raised more than $30 million.

In his third run for the presidency, Texas Rep. Ron Paul is polling at nearly 8 percent and has raised almost $13 million. Paul’s foreign policy is very much within Libertarian ideology, which contrasts in comparison to the other candidates. Paul initially supported military action in Afghanistan but now supports a quick American troop withdraw not only from Afghanistan but also around the world. Paul also promotes limiting aid to Israel, citing that their dependence on U.S. aid is weakening the country. Paul’s outspoken foreign policy has garnered him some dissent from the audience in previous debates.

Several candidates, who sharply criticized President Obama for intervening in Libya, are now criticizing Obama for their perceived lack of urgency in dealing with President Bashar al-Assad in Syra. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, for example, stated that Iran was plotting with Syria to launch a rocket attack on Israel. She has since pushed for Assad’s ouster. However, Bachmann’s poll numbers remain low at 5 percent, with her campaign having rasied about $8 million.

The candidate with the most significant foreign policy experience, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who served as Ambassador to China under the Obama Administration, is still only polling at 2 percent and has raised only $4.5 million.

Joining Huntsman at the bottom of the pack is former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. Santorum is polling at a little over one percent, the least of any candidate. Also lagging is Santorum’s fundraising arm, which has raised $1 million, the least amount of any candidate debating.

Join us  at Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. as we provide real-time fact checking, context and attempt to detangle the bindings between money and politics.