GOP Presidential Debates Will Begin in Spring 2011

This could be a bit early, depending on when exactly it happens: NBC and Politico will co-host the first Republican 2012 presidential debate, to be held sometime during this coming spring.

Politico and NBC announced today:

Simi Valley, Calif. -- Former First Lady Nancy Reagan today announced plans to invite all of the leading contenders for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination to two debates at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. The Reagan Presidential Foundation plans to play host to both the first GOP presidential debate of the 2012 election cycle in spring 2011 and a second GOP debate on the eve of the Super Tuesday primaries.

The Reagan Foundation has confirmed NBC News as the television partner and POLITICO as the online partner of the first debate. The media partners for the second, pre-Super Tuesday debate will be announced in 2011.

"We are honored to be involved in a presidential debate with NBC News and the Reagan Foundation," said Robert Allbritton, publisher of POLITICO. "There are so many important issues confronting this nation, and POLITICO is eager to work with NBC News to fashion a rich and spirited debate among the candidates about the major policy issues of the day."

The Reagan library hosted the first Republican presidential primary debate of the 2008 election on May 3, 2007.

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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