September 8th, 2011

CNN, Tea Party Express to Host First-Ever Tea Party Debate, Sept. 12

CNN and the Tea Party Express, along with more than 100 local tea party groups from every state across the country, will team up Monday, September 12 to present a first-of-its-kind debate from the site of the 2012 Republican National Convention: Tampa, Florida. Eight Republican presidential contenders will face questions from moderator and lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer during the two-hour event, which will air live on CNN from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. from the Florida State Fairgrounds. The debate will focus on a wide-range of topics, including the role, size and scope of government, with a specific emphasis on issue number one to tea party members and all Americans: the economy.

In addition to questions from Blitzer, audience members inside the debate hall, made up in part by members from tea party groups in 31 states and the District of Columbia, will be invited to ask questions directly to the candidates. Questions will also be taken live from tea party members at debate watch parties in Phoenix, Ariz.; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Portsmouth, Virginia. Online, CNN will solicit questions via comments on, the CNN Politics Facebook page, and by using the #CNNTeaParty hashtag on Twitter.

Read the full press release after the jump.

The following Republican candidates will participate in the debate: Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, businessman Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

The debate will be broadcast live on CNN, CNN International,, and CNN Radio. The debate will be available via live stream in the CNN Apps for iPhone, iPad and Android. will provide a series of stories for all things related to the CNN-Tea Party Republican Debate: the evolution of the tea party movement, its influence on the Republican Party, what’s at stake for the GOP hopefuls participating in the debate and more. On debate day, Monday, Sept. 12, will dedicate its site to coverage of the debate, featuring profiles of the candidates and a behind-the-scenes look at event preparations.

On the day of the debate, the CNN Political Ticker will host a live, up-to-the-minute blog, including real-time comments from CNN’s political team. The page will also incorporate a social media live stream, integrating the conversation happening across, Twitter and Facebook directly onto the Political Ticker.

Additionally, a new page for debate coverage,, will be live on Friday, Sept. 9 and will feature a live video stream of the debate, plus related video.


CNN’s coverage surrounding the debates kicks off live and on location with The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer on Friday, September 9 at 5 p.m. ET and will continue through Tuesday morning, featuring anchors Wolf Blitzer, John King, Don Lemon and Ali Velshi.

The following programs will originate live from the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida:

All times Eastern.

Friday, September 9
5 p.m. – 7 p.m.             The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer

Saturday, September 10
5 p.m. – 6 p.m.             Newsroom – with Don Lemon
7 p.m. – 8 p.m.             Newsroom – with Don Lemon
10 p.m. – 11 p.m.         Newsroom – with Don Lemon

Sunday, September 11
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.             Newsroom – with Don Lemon
8 p.m. – 9 p.m.             Newsroom – with Don Lemon (will include Pres. Obama’s live remarks from the National Cathedral)
11 p.m. – 12 a.m.          Newsroom – with Don Lemon

Monday, September 12
6 a.m. – 9 a.m.              American Morning – with Ali Velshi
5 p.m. – 7 p.m.             The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer
7 p.m. – 8 p.m.             John King, USA
8 p.m. – 10 p.m.           CNN-Tea Party Republican Debate
10 p.m. – 11 p.m.         Anderson Cooper 360° (from New York)
11 p.m. – 1 a.m.            CNN-Tea Party Republican Debate (replay)

Tuesday, September 13
6 a.m. – 9 a.m.              American Morning – with Ali Velshi

CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is the most trusted source for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks; one private place-based network; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; CNN Digital Network, the No. 1 network of news Web sites in the United States; CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively syndicated news service; and strategic international partnerships within both television and the digital media.


Megan Grant                         Washington                                          202.515.2920                     
Edie Emery                            Washington                                          202.898.7657