Things to Expect at the National Security Debate Tonight

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The stage is set ... LITERALLY!Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

After a couple of weekend debates that nobody saw or paid attention to, the endless parade of GOP primary debates returns to the work week tonight in Washington. The 8 p.m. debate, which will air on CNN, is co-sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, two conservative think tanks, and will focus on national security issues. So expect the following:

• Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, et al, telling us that we need to stay in Afghanistan until every last general unanimously agrees it's time to go.

• Jon Huntsman differentiating himself from the rest of the field's interventionists, but in an utterly emotionless and unmemorable way.

• Ron Paul being being asked, every so often, whether he agrees with the over-the-top hawkish thing another candidate just said.

• Herman Cain making up dubious excuses for why it took him 45 minutes to answer a basic question about the war in Libya

• Lots of unspecific critiques of President Obama's handling of Libya. 

• Rick Perry being asked to elaborate on his support, voiced last night on Fox News, for the unilateral creation of a no-fly zone over Syria.

• Unanimous assertions that President Obama is "soft on terror," despite everything.

• Newt Gingrich castigating the moderators because they asked him about something he'd rather not talk about.