The Fast Fix

The Fast Fix: Fighting to be frontrunner

Chris Cillizza
The Fast Fix

Mitt Romney and Rick Perry will be trying to stabilize their status as GOP frontrunners in the Orlando debate, but they'll be facing opposition from each other as well as the seven other republican hopefuls.

It's a debate night!

Nine Republican presidential candidates will be on stage tonight in Orlando for their third debate in 15 days.

But the focus will be on just two men: Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney -- the two frontrunners for the Republican nomination.

Each man has a different goal in tonight's debate.

For Perry, he has to shake off his uneven performances in the two debates earlier this month and show Republican voters he not only belongs on the debate stage but is ready to take on President Obama next November.

For Romney, he has to find ways to slow Perry's momentum by raising questions in voters' minds about whether the Texas governor is really ready for prime time. Expect Romney to hammer Perry on his past comments on the unconstitutionality of Social Security to try to prove that point.

The problem that both Perry and Romney will have to deal with is that as they try to score their own points in the debate, they will have to fend off incoming from the other seven people on stage -- all of whom want a chance to take a shot at the frontrunners.

Whichever man can make play more offense than defense will emerge as the winner.

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