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The debate are unapologetically entertaining—but do early primaries really determine the presidential nomination?

It’s easy to forget that the 20 televised debates that have aired since May last year—with more on the way—have been anything more than a bad reality TV show. This weekend’s debates in Concord and Manchester, New Hampshire saw Republican candidates trade insults worthy of sleep-deprived Big Brother contestants, as Newt Gingrich accused Mitt Romney of talking “pious baloney” while Ron Paul called the former Speaker, who did not serve in Vietnam, a “chicken hawk.”

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