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First take/debate

The Republican presidential debate round three was having some trouble differentiating from round two, or round one – the crowd was the same as it was in number two with the exception of the departed Scott Walker. And the players mostly played their familiar roles, Dona Trump blustering his way through, Ben Carson getting through as quietly as he could, Jeb Bush never quite connecting. Reviews of the four-man undercard debate generally seemed to agree that Lindsey Graham did best, and that seemed about right. But time has surely arrived to start the winnowing process. By now it should be clear that none of the four at the kids’ table are going to make the leap; they should drop out. And two or three on the main stage ought to take a serious look at doing that too. Months have gone by in this campaign so far, and many twists remain, but some improbabilities have gotten pretty clear. – rs (illustration)

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