Primary Debates and Forums

CNN/WMUR-TV/New Hampshire Union Leader Debate
Photo: David S. Holloway/CNN
Monday, June 13, 2011 in Sullivan Arena at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH
from 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET.  1, 2

Press Releases from CNN  |  More Pre-Debate  |  Photos  |  Post-Debate

Sponsors:  CNN, WMUR-TV and New Hampshire Union Leader.

Candidates:  Rep. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rep. Ron Paul, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Gov. Mitt Romney and former Sen. Rick Santorum.

Moderator:  CNN anchor and chief national correspondent John King.  Questions from voters via WMUR-TV’s Jean Mackin, Josh McElveen and Jennifer Vaughn and New Hampshire Union Leader’s John DiStaso and Tom Fahey. Remote locations Plymouth, Hancock and Rochester.

Audience:  About 700 people.

Broadcast:  Live throughout New Hampshire on WMUR-TV and nationally on CNN, CNN en Español,, CNN Radio, and The debate will be available via live stream in the CNN Apps for iPhone, iPad and Android.

Format:  No opening statements (candidates to introduce themselves "in one short sentence").  One minute to answer lead off questions.  At the moderator's discretion, follow-up questions to other candidates with about 30 seconds to respond ("...we're on the honor system tonight, no bells, no whistles.  You won't see any flashing lights up here.")

Overview:  This was the first debate with a semi-full field.  It was originally scheduled for June 7, but was moved to avoid possible conflict with NBA playoffs.  However, the move backfired as the debate ended up coinciding with a Bruins-Canucks NHL playoff game, and many Granite Staters watched that.

Rep. Michele Bachmann took the opportunity to announce that she will be a candidate, and earned generally good reviews for her performance.  Former Gov. Mitt Romney, the perceived frontrunner, was expected to be a target, but avoided damaging attacks and thereby boosted his cause; he also managed to announce that the Bruins were ahead 4 to 0.  Pundits did find fault with the performance of former Gov. Tim Pawlenty.  The day before he had spoken of Obamneycare, yet when offered the chance during the debate to pursue that line with his opponent present on stage, he demurred.  Herman Cain, who had claimed victory in the South Carolina debate, got tangled up in a question about whether he would appoint Muslims to his administration if elected.  (more)