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Tonight’s the night. The eight Republican presidential candidates meet at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA, for the first of the fall debate. And it’s the first one to feature newly-minted frontrunner Rick Perry. The only place you can watch the debate is on msnbc starting at 8 eastern. There are plenty of storylines to follow tonight – whether Perry comes off as presidential, whether Mitt Romney continues to run as though he’s won the nomination or whether he tries to land punches on Perry. And what about Michele Bachmann? Once upon a time it looked like Bachmann could make a real run at the nomination, but since Perry entered the race, not so much. What will she do to try to get back in it? We’ll see tonight at 8 eastern only on msnbc.

 

The New York Times writes about five things to watch in tonight’s debate. Politico, who’s co-hosting the debate with NBC News, takes a look at what’s at stake for the candidates tonight.

 

Meanwhile, the other big political story of the week is President Obama’s big jobs speech tomorrow night before a joint session of Congress. Early reports suggest the president will focus his plan on an idea that the White House thinks Republicans can support - payroll tax relief. He’ll also propose some new infrastructure spending and an extension of unemployment benefits. It’s not exactly the big, bold thinking that many of the president’s supporters had been looking for. Democrats in Congress are pressing for new works programs

 

Interesting read in Politico today about how – despite all the chatter on the left – President Obama’s approval rating among his core supporters is the highest of any Democratic president in recent history.

 

Finally, former president George W. Bush will be on hand at Saturday’s memorial event in Shanksville, PA. Bush will speak at the dedication of the Flight 93 National Memorial, along with Vice President Joe Biden.

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Hardball - Let Me Start

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