GOP Candidates Debate, But Anyone Paying Attention? - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

GOP Candidates Debate, But Anyone Paying Attention?

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Paul Nelson
Channel 2 News

The presidential election is still more than a year away, but Republicans are doing all they can to get their party's nomination to run for office.

Herman Cain - "This economy's on life support. We don't need to trim around the edges. We need a bold plan."

Texas Governor Rick Perry - "They're begging for someone to make America 'America' again."

Mitt Romney - "My experience will help us get our values, get our economy strong, and make sure that our military is second to none, in the world."

The economy was the main focus of last night's GOP debate in New Hampshire.

And we started to see who is pulling away and who is gaining ground, with Romney coming out ahead.

"I don't know that Republicans are falling in love with him yet, but he didn't hurt himself. Herman Cain looked good. Took on Romney, but in a far more friendly way than when Perry and Romney go at it. Once again, Governor Perry was kind of missing in action," says local political analyst Eric Herzik.

Most people we talked to didn't watch last night's debate.

But they all seemed to have an interest in what happened and who will take on President Obama, in next year's election.  

"I think the interest is what's going to happen with the economy. What's going to happen with the future of Reno, Nevada, and our country?" asks Cameron Leck of Reno.

Melissa Karadanis of Reno adds, "I don't have any favorites, right now. I'm a little small business owner so I want whatever is best for the economy and my business, of course."

"I'll follow it but we're still a long ways away from the election. So, when people come out and say 'I'm in favor of X-candidate...It's just to early for me," says Brian Rasmussen of Reno.

While the debate may not be a big deal to the public, it is more of a chance for candidates to break out as the leader and possibly helping their campaign by gaining new donors.

But Herzik says, when the dust settles, the Republican nomination and the presidency will be decided by one thing. "Ultimately, this election is going to be like 1992. 'It's the economy stupid' and the Republicans better have a plan other than 'Obama hasn't done a good job.'"

After last night's debate, Herman Cain may have gained a new burst of speed in the race. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows him ahead of Mitt Romney by five points.

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