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Best Debate Performance By a GOP Presidential Candidate in More than Two Decades

10:08 PM, Oct 3, 2012 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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Almost a year ago, James Ceaser of the University of Virginia wrote this in THE WEEKLY STANDARD ("The Gift of Gab, October 31, 2011):

With Mitt, at last, Republicans can sleep easy. Agree with him or not, this is a man who’s not about to be stumped. Romney’s verbal repertoire even extends to a capability that Republicans had forgotten still existed: nuance. Romney displayed his adeptness in the New Hampshire debate three weeks ago when parrying a challenge about the complexity of his 59-point plan from Herman Cain. Without hesitation, and with no hint of condescension, Mitt explained “that simple answers are always very helpful but oftentimes inadequate.” Not exactly an answer that Bob Dole would have come up with on the spot. And he showed that he could stand up for himself as well, going toe-to-toe with Rick Perry last week in Las Vegas in the epic battle for the microphone.

Romney’s debate performances the first time around, in 2007-08, were not always so well honed. To his credit, he used his four years of practice to master the craft. This kind of hard work and discipline in an executive may be exactly what the American people are looking for this time.

Ceaser was right. Romney is on course to turn in the best debate performance by a Republican presidential candidate in more than two decades.

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