Fourth Republican Debate September 7, First to Include Perry

Republican presidential hopefuls will appear in their fourth debate on September 7 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation in California in what will be their fourth debate, but the first to include pro-life Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

GOP candidates seeking to replace pro-abortion President Barack Obama have gathered in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina — the site of the first three presidential primary election contests — for debates that touched on pro-life and other issues. This fourth debate is co-sponsored by the Reagan foundation along with Politico and NBC News.

Perry, who is shown leading the Republican contest in many polls, will have to answer questions for the first time and may face criticism from other candidates because of his quick ascent to the top of the leaderboard. The debate will also feature top-tier candidates Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul along with Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum. All of the candidates are running on a pro-life position, though some of them have longer records voting for or signing pro-life legislation.

The standards for the debate made it so a couple of the candidates — Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman — barely qualified. A candidate must have at least 4 percent of the support of Republican voters in one of eight recent polls. With Huntsman and Santorum at the bottom of the polls, they had a harder time qualifying than the other GOP candidates.

MSNBC will broadcast the debate live from the Reagan library’s Air Force One Pavilion at 8 p.m. ET while Politico live-streams the debate on its website. CNBC and Telemundo will also broadcast the debate, Politico indicates, and Brian Williams, of “NBC Nightly News,” and John F. Harris, editor in chief of POLITICO, will moderate.

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