First GOP White House Debate, Lacking Stars, Eclipsed By Bin Laden, Approaches

May 4, 2011

The first debate of the likely candidates for the Republican presidential nomination takes place Thursday. We know you've been waiting breathlessly for this one.

Even before the killing of Osama bin Laden, the debate in Greenville, S.C. was already viewed as likely to be a lackluster affair. The politicians thought to have the best shot at the nomination, former governors Mitt Romney (Massachusetts) and Mike Huckabee (Arkansas) had already said they wouldn't be attending.

This week's elimination of the terrorist leader just further eclipses the event.

Real Clear Politics has a story by reporter Scott Conroy in which South Carolina politicians try to put the best face on the situation.

Well, at least some of the state's politicians do. Bob McAlister, who is described in the piece as a South Carolina political operative, is quoted in the story saying:

"It's like a beauty contest where all the women are ugly," (South Carolina Republican McAlister said. "It's just mind-boggling that we're this far along in the political silly season and there's no one of major stature that appears to be interested so far."

Wow. That's pretty harsh.

But it's difficult to hurt the feelings of most professional politicians, so McAlister's dismissive comments probably won't stop the announced attendees from showing up.

They include former governors Tim Pawlenty or Gary Johnson of Minnesota and New Mexico, respectively, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum, and businessman and talk-radio host Herman Cain.

If you wind up watching this one on C-Span, that should be all the proof you need that you're a political junkie of the first order.

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