Tan, rested, and ready to maintain the buzz of "looks and sounds like a president" that has fueled his rise in key states, including Iowa, where he leads in the polls. Defended his current pro-life position, after some shaky initial discomfort from a frontal assault by Senator Brownback, with a good balance of passion and confidence (although his saying that the recorded telephone message Brownback is delivering to voters are filled with falsehoods could come back to haunt him). Elevated himself via pre-canned lines, deftly delivered, about American military families and newest Republican prey Barack Obama, whom Romney purposefully strafed twice. Gracefully uttered the phrase "I'm not a carbon copy of President Bush" without seeming overtly disrespectful, and condemned detractors of the Bush-Cheney team without embracing the administration's policies. Backed off his March criticism of Rudy Giuliani's position on social issues and laid down a marker by declining to discuss the views of the other candidates. The Iowa audience responded well, yet it is unclear if this debate will help raise his national poll standing, which continues to be the missing piece in his assent to frontrunnerdom.
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