Will Newt Gingrich Spare Herman Cain in Their Lincoln-Douglas Debate?

The former Speaker of the House knows orders of magnitude more about domestic policy -- but it isn't clear that he wants to show up his rival

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In GOP primary debates so far, Newt Gingrich has mostly refrained from criticizing his fellow candidates, and attacked none of them. On November 5, 2011, he is participating in "a modified Lincoln-Douglas debate" with Herman Cain on Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid. Perhaps Gingrich will illustrate his differences with Cain "in a friendly way," as he suggests in National Review.

But let's be honest. If he wanted to do it, Gingrich has the capacity to talk circles around Cain on those subjects. It isn't that the former Speaker of the House is smarter. It's just that he's orders of magnitude more knowledgeable, and a capable enough debater to make the gulf in knowledge show. I am not a GOP insider or someone to whom Gingrich whispers, so I have no idea what the man wants out of the debate, or his presidential run. But if Gingrich or someone who can prevail upon him wants to deal a serious blow to Cain's candidacy, this is an unusually good opportunity -- or it will be, anyway, if and when they decide to televise the encounter.

Image credit: Reuters