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As National Review's Robert Costa reports, Gingrich and Cain will face off next month in a tea party debate in Texas modeled after the historic Lincoln-Douglas debates.
In 1858, Abraham Lincoln challenged then-Democratic Sen. Stephen Douglas in a series of seven debates in which the candidates debated the merits of slavery and the treatment of blacks in America.
The format inspired today's presidential debates, but it's worth noting that the time allotted to each speaker was far more substantial, allowing the candidates more time to talk without interruption. Lincoln or Douglas would speak for 60 minutes, followed by 90 minutes of remarks from the other candidate, and concluding with a 30-minute rebuttal by the first speaker.
Gingrich has been talking up the format for weeks. He told a crowd in Iowa last weekend that, if he were the nominee, he would challenge President Obama to similar debates next year.
The debate will take place on Nov. 5 at a forum at the Woodlands resort near Houston and sponsored by the Texas Tea Party Patriots. The format will be a "modified Lincoln-Douglas debate," moderated by Steve King, a Republican representative from Iowa.
The candidates will debate in three parts, each dedicated to a different entitlement program: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
The debate is sure to create a dilemma for Rick Perry, who mused only last month that his ideal running mate would be to "mate" Cain and Gingrich together to create a fusion of the two.
With "Newtman Caingrich" debating himself, whom will Perry root for?
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