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Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman to meet in N.H. debate

Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman will meet next Monday in a Lincoln-Douglas style debate in New Hampshire.

The former House speaker and the former Utah governor will talk about foreign policy and national security in a debate sponsored by the Southern New Hampshire 9-12 Project and the Saint Anselm College Republicans at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College.

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The candidates’ campaign managers issued a joint statement that the candidates “look forward to debating in a substantive format that will allow both candidates to highlight their experience and view for the country.”

The debate comes as Gingrich is cementing his status as frontrunner in Iowa, where he has taken the lead in several polls out this week. Gingrich has moved into second place in New Hampshire, behind former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

Gingrich has been critical of the traditional debate format, arguing that it does not give candidates enough time to give substantive answers to questions. He met businessman Herman Cain in a one-on-one debate last month, before Cain suspended his campaign. Gingrich has said if he wins the nomination, he will challenge President Obama to a series of debates, in the style of those conducted by Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas in their 1858 Senate race.

Huntsman has been spending large amounts of time in New Hampshire, where he is staking his presidential campaign. He will be back in the state this Thursday, then again Saturday through Monday. As a former ambassador to China and Singapore, the foreign policy focus of the debate will play to his strengths.

Shira Schoenberg can be reached at sschoenberg@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shiraschoenberg.
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