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The Nashville Debate

By Erik Tarloff  

                Barack Obama didn’t have to win last night’s debate.  In fact, he could have afforded to lose it outright without doing serious harm to his chances in November.  Absent some earth-shattering mistake, the only debate that really matters in any given election cycle is the first one, and even there, it’s the theatrics rather than the substance that counts.  Does the perceived challenger (the younger, less-experienced candidate, say, or the representative of the party out of power) look more or less equal to his opponent?  Can one envision him as president?  If after the first…

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