The Note: GOP Candidates Sharpen Their Knives For Debate Night In Des Moines

TOMORROW ON “THIS WEEK” ABC News anchors and debate moderators Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos will join Christiane Amanpour live Sunday morning on “This Week” to break down highlights from the Iowa debate showdown. ABC News senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper, senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl, and correspondent John Berman will also join Amanpour from Iowa to analyze how the candidates fared, and what comes next as the campaigns head into the final stretch. And Christiane goes one-on-one with Jon Huntsman in a “This Week” exclusive. The Republican candidate is skipping Iowa and putting all his chips on New Hampshire. Will his “Live Free or Die” state strategy revive his campaign? Then, the roundtable will examine key moments from Saturday’s debate and from the campaign trail this week, with ABC’s George Will, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, and Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez in Washington, and Des Moines Register political columnist Kathie Obradovich from Iowa.


THE VIEW FROM IOWA. ABC’s Shushannah Walshe, author of “Good Morning Iowa,” our new daily morning tipsheet covering everything you need to know in the Hawkeye State between now and the Jan. 3 caucuses, tracks down the GOP candidates today.

Almost all of them are in Iowa and almost all are holding events — no doubt while also doing some last minute prep. Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Michele Bachmann, are all attending a Veterans Presidential Candidate Forum in Des Moines this afternoon. Gingrich is also opening up his new headquarters in Urbandale. Mitt Romney’s wife and son, Ann and Josh Romney, along with Tim and Mary Pawlenty are holding a rally at their Des Moines headquarters. Rick Santorum is also holding a town hall in Jefferson and visiting a tree farm in Cumming with his family to select a Christmas tree for their Urbandale Headquarters. Ron Paul has a town hall in Marshalltown.

This is the front page Des Moines residents are waking up to today:

WEATHER: It’s in the low single digits right now, but could get up to a sunny, but cold 37 degrees later today.

The Des Moines Register’s Jennifer Jacobs has a must-read preview of tonight’s debate with a handy what-to-watch-for guide:  Here are some highlights: Does Gingrich try to play it safe, does he roll out something big, or does he go on the attack?; Is Paul able to pull off a debate performance where he doesn’t insult non-libertarian-leaning Republicans?;  Can Romney gain likability points while drawing necessary distinctions with Newt Gingrich?;  How many times will Bachmann say she’s from Iowa?; If Perry doesn’t make any major mistakes and stays on message, could he be one who benefits if conservatives leave Gingrich for some reason?; Santorum has a bit of on-the-ground momentum in Iowa with endorsements, so could a shining debate performance give him some mojo heading into the last few weeks? Read the entire piece here:

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