Debates matter. That was one of the major takeaways from the South Carolina primary, which Newt Gingrich won handily on Saturday.

Republican presidential candidate former House Speaker Newt Gingrich reacts to a question at the start of the Republican presidential candidate debate at the North Charleston Coliseum in Charleston, S.C., Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012. (David Goldman/Associated Press)

With the primary shaping up to be more competitive than it seemed just a few weeks ago and the winner-take-all Florida primary just eight days away, Monday and Thursday night’s debates will matter quite a lot.

Here are the details you will need to tune into Monday night’s Republican Candidates Debate sponsored by NBC News, National Journal, and the Tampa Bay Times.

Where can I watch the debate?

The debate at the University of South Florida in Tampa, will air on NBC at 9 p.m. ET in the place of “Rock Center” and will be livestreaming on,

As usual, The Fix will host a live chat throughout the debate starting at 8:30 p.m. and Felicia Sonmez will live-blog all the events starting around 8:30 p.m. in Election 2012.

Who is participating?

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former U.S. senator Rick Santorum (Pa.).

Who will moderate the debate?

Rock Center host Brian Williams will host his second debate of the 2012 cycle. National Journal’s Beth Reinhard and the Tampa Bay Times’s Adam Smith will also question the participants.

What is the official hashtag?

@NBCPolitics is using #FLDebate on Twitter.


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