Candidates Ramp Up For Saturday Debate04:51
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Republican presidential hopeful U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., speaks to local residents during the Five Seasons Republican Women's Christmas Party, Thursday, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (AP)
Republican presidential hopeful U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., speaks to local residents during the Five Seasons Republican Women's Christmas Party, Thursday, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (AP)

Ahead of Saturday's debate in Iowa, Republican presidential candidates are campaigning there-- except for Newt Gingrich. Gingrich is in Washington, D.C. doing a book signing, which is adding to criticism from those who say Gingrich is on a book tour that has become a presidential campaign.

"He's done nothing to disabuse that notion when he has a book signing a couple hundred feet from the Capitol, the day before the big Iowa debate," ABC News editor Rick Klein told Here & Now's Robin Young.

The debate is expected to be a showdown between Gingrich, the new frontrunner in the polls, and Mitt Romney.

Romney Takes Aim At Gingrich

Thursday, Romney launched his most scathing attack against Gingrich so far, with supporters such as former Missouri Senator Jim Talent calling Gingrich unreliable and untrustworthy.

"They're aiming at issues of credibility, conservatism and consistency. This is a full bore attack," ABC News editor Rick Klein told Here & Now's Robin Young about the Romney's push against Gingrich.

"They're bringing up the kitchen sink against Gingrich," Klein said.

Will Ron Paul Become Third Party Candidate?

ABC News commentator George Will is expected to make some comments about Ron Paul this weekend.  Paul denies he is going to become a third party candidate, but some, including Will, are worried that he will, to the detriment of Republicans.

Rick Klein says that if Ron Paul wins in Iowa, "it makes New Hampshire a real wild card."

Guest:

  • Rick Klein, senior Washington editor for ABC World News, and host of the ABC News political webcast “Top Line." Klein joins us from Des Moines, Iowa.

This segment aired on December 9, 2011.

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