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Frontrunner Scrambles; President Huckabee?

Huck Can Swim [William Kristol, New York Times]: "The most interesting moment in Saturday night’s Republican debate at St. Anselm College was when the candidates were asked what arguments they would make if they found themselves running against Obama in the general election. The best answer came, not surprisingly, from the best Republican campaigner so far — Mike Huckabee. He began by calmly mentioning his and Obama’s contrasting views on issues from guns to life to same-sex marriage. This served to remind Republicans that these contrasts have been central to G.O.P. success over the last quarter-century, and to suggest that Huckabee could credibly and comfortably make the socially conservative case in an electorally advantageous way."

Fight Night, Take Two [Lauren Dorgan, Concord Monitor]: "If Mitt Romney was in the crosshairs at Saturday night's Republican presidential debate, rival Mike Huckabee shared the heat at last night's forum, with the pair squaring off in personal terms over economic records and negative ads.

Never Say Die [Seema Mehta and James Rainey, Los Angeles Times]: "John Edwards launched a new television spot and a final, marathon bus tour through this state Sunday, acknowledging he was the underdog but insisting he would not give up a Democratic presidential contest that increasingly centered on Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton."

Southern Strategies [Jay Cost, RealClearPolitics]: "[W]e see here two of Clinton's relative weaknesses as a frontrunner. She has no firewall that stems from her geographical roots. She also does not have the luxury of multiple opponents. If the 1992 Democratic contest has a parallel with this year, it is on the Republican side. And Rudy Giuliani may be Bill Clinton."

The Oldest Game in Town [Dorothy Rabinowitz, Wall Street Journal]: "Though the word 'old' keeps showing up in regular, not always innocent and invariably hammy tributes--as when his name is attached to terms like "the old warrior" or simply 'old soldier.' There's indeed something suitable in the word as regards Mr. McCain, but it is nothing having to do with his age. That ingrained pride of his that forbids pandering for political gain--that would be shamed by lying about his deeply held views--is what is old about him."

Fixing What's Broke [Bob Shrum, New York Daily News]: "There could still be a Clinton miracle, but by tomorrow night she is more likely to be the KO'd Kid than the Comeback Kid. She will have to get off the mat and recast her case. Contrary to the caricatures, Hillary Clinton is a real person, often funny in private, with engaging qualities that have been well-hidden in this campaign. But the hour is late and even if the real Hillary emerges, voters might see it as just another contrivance."

 --Dayo Olopade