David Gregory is taking his NBC show Meet the Press on the road Sunday, where he will serve as a moderator of a debate featuring the remaining six candidates vying for the Republican Party nomination. And making things more interesting, viewers can pose the questions that will be asked on the air.
Being broadcast live from New Hampshire at 9am ET, the event is being co-sponsored by Facebook. Voters wanting to have a say in what the politicians are asked can go here to submit their questions.
Some pundits think this is now a two-person race between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, but the responses they and their opponents give Sunday could go a long way toward swaying voters in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary and ultimately determining who faces President Obama in the November presidential election. Here are NBC’s bios for the six remaining candidates, all of whom are expected to participate in the live debate.
Mitt Romney is the former governor of Massachusetts and a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. The son of former Michigan Gov. George Romney, who also sought the GOP presidential nod in 1968, Romney was raised in the suburbs of Detroit and served on a Mormon mission in France before going on to earn his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University and a J.D./M.B.A. from Harvard University. Romney cofounded Bain Capital, ran unsuccessfully for Senate in 1994, and headed the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. He served one term as governor, from 2003-2007, and sought the GOP presidential nomination unsuccessfully in 2008.
Rick Santorum is the former two-term Republican senator from Pennsylvania. Raised in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Illinois, Santorum graduated in 1980 from Penn State University, in 1981 with a MBA from the University of Pittsburgh, and from Dickinson School of Law in 1986. Santorum was first elected to Congress in 1990, and was elected to the Senate in 1994, at the age of 36. Santorum ascended top GOP leadership during his time in the Senate, and distinguished himself as a staunch social conservative. But he lost re-election in 2006, since which he has practiced law and served as a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
Ron Paul, a Texas representative, is making his third bid for the presidency, his second run as a Republican. A native of western Pennsylvania and , Paul is a trained physician who practiced medicine as an obstetrician/gynecologist before being elected to Congress in a 1976 special election. Paul has done three stints in the House, from 1976-77, 1979-85, and 1997-present; he has announced his intention to retire from the House at the end of his term. Paul ran as the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee in 1988, and sought the GOP presidential nomination in 2008. During his time in office, Paul has made a name for himself as a libertarian-minded Republican, and a critic of interventionist foreign policy and monetary policy.
Newt Gingrich is the former Speaker of the House of Representatives and a longtime figure in GOP politics. Gingrich was raised in central Pennsylvania before pursuing a bachelor’s in history. He finished his undergraduate work at Emory University in 1965, received his Master’s in 1968, and a Ph.D. from Tulane University in 1971. Gingrich was first elected to Congress in 1978 and slowly laid the groundwork for the landslide election in 1994 that delivered control of Congress to the GOP, and made Gingrich Speaker. Gingrich led Republicans in standoffs against President Bill Clinton on government funding and welfare reform, and oversaw the initiation of an investigation that led to Clinton’s impeachment. But he resigned in 1998 following Republican dissatisfaction with his leadership, and has published books and worked as a pundit and advocate in the years since then.
Rick Perry is the current governor of Texas, and the longest continually-serving governor in the nation. The son of ranchers in the small town of Paint Creek, Perry was a Democrat in his youth and early political career before becoming a Republican in 1989 to run for state Agriculture Commissioner. Perry graduated from Texas A&M University in 1972 and entered the Air Force. He was first elected to the Texas state House as a Democrat in 1984 and switched parties in 1989 when he was elected as the state’s Agricultural Commissioner. Perry served in that capacity until being elected lieutenant governor in 1998. He assumed the governorship after his predecessor, George W. Bush, was elected president in 2000.
Jon Huntsman, Jr. is the former governor of Utah, and the former ambassador to China and Singapore. He was raised in locations across the U.S. in part due to the business of his father, who founded Huntsman Chemical Corporation, and accrued a net worth of over $1 billion in the process. Huntsman dropped out of high school to pursue work as a rock band’s keyboardist, but eventually obtained a G.E.D. and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1987. Huntsman served in the first Bush administration, as ambassador to Singapore, and as a deputy U.S. Trade Representative in the second Bush administration. He was elected governor of Utah in 2004 and won re-election in 2008 before stepping down to become President Obama’s ambassador to China. He resigned from that position in 2011 to run for president as a Republican.