Debate Live-Blogging Pt. #2

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8:33 PM: Some initial impressions half hour in. Romney seems like the only serious candidate on the stage. In a sense that’s not surprising because he’s almost the only serious candidate in the race. Santorum struck me as particularly scattered. The key though is Pawlenty. He’s the only other really serious candidate in the race, at least on paper. But he struck me as weak — and not just in his unwillingness to repeat his criticism of Romney to Romney’s face. And that’s a win for Romney, since again, no one else up there is a serious candidate for the nomination. And yet Romney’s answer on health care reform simply didn’t hold up — a lot of sensible points that didn’t at all address the fact that his bill is fundamentally the same as President Obama’s. That’s still the albatross around his neck. But what if there’s no other credible candidate to oppose him?

8:39 PM: For more breaking updates check out our live TPM GOP Debate Wire.

8:41 PM: Okay, now Romney’s history of flip-flopping now catching up with him a bit.

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.
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