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South Carolina: The final five; Update: Non-Romneys attack, Romney deflects, stumbles

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By Michelle Malkin  •  January 16, 2012 08:45 PM

Another Republican debate showdown. Fox News Channel hosts the final five GOP in Myrtle Beach, S.C. starting at 9pm Eastern.

The hosts: Bret Baier of Fox News’ ‘Special Report’ and Gerald Seib of the Wall Street Journal.

You can watch live online here.

Twitter users can play “#dodge” or “#answer” .

Seven more GOP debates from now through March 19.

Have we reached an over-saturation point?

January 19, 2012 8pm ET on CNN
Location: Charleston, SC
Sponsor: CNN and the Southern Republican Leadership Conference
Participants: Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, Paul, Perry*

January 23, 2012 9pm ET on NBC
Location:University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida
Sponsor: The Tampa Bay Times, NBC News, the National Journal and the Florida Council of 100
Participants: TBD

January 26, 2012 Air time TBD on CNN
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Sponsor: CNN, CNN en Español, The Hispanic Leadership Network and The Republican Party of Florida
Participants: TBD

February 22, 2012 8pm ET on CNN (Originally Dec 1, then Nov 30)
Location: Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, Arizona
Sponsor: CNN and the Republican Party of Arizona
Participants: TBD

March 1, 2012 8pm ET on CNN
Location: Georgia
Sponsor: CNN and the Georgia Republican Party
Participants: TBD

March 5, 2012 Air time TBD on NBC
Location: Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA
Sponsor: Reagan Library, NBC News and Politico
Participants: TBD

March 19, 2012 9pm ET on PBS
Location: Portland, OR
Sponsor: Oregon Public Broadcasting, NPR, PBS, The Washington Times and the Oregon Republican Party
Participants: TBD

The silver lining? No more smarmy Huntsman.

***

Update: The Non-Romneys tried to recover from their utter incompetence last week. They backed away from the most extreme Occupier rhetoric on Bain Capital, and instead carped about SuperPAC ads. (Newt learned from last debate not to hide behind NYTimes. Invoked Wall Street Journal instead.)

Santorum curiously made his stand in favor of ex-felons voting and complained about a SuperPAC ad that mentioned his Senate record on that issue.

Perry dodged a question about his “vulture capitalism” rhetoric by calling on Romney to release his income tax returns.

Rick Santorum tried to rationalize voting against right-to-work by explaining it’s because he was representing Pennsylvania.

Not exactly the kind of “bold leadership” skills he accuses his opponents of lacking.

Perry’s best moment: Taking on Obama over voter/photo ID fight with South Carolina. Gov. Nikki Haley, Romney supporter, applauded.

Romney stutters on question about his vote for assault weapons ban, whether he has hunted since 2007.

Skipped Ron Paul foreign policy screed.

Gingrich whines about SuperPACs. Romney complains about SuperPACs.

Romney admits: “McCain Feingold was a disaster.”

(But hey, he’s proud of his BigGovRepub McCain endorsement!)

Gingrich and Perry supporters on Twitter are over the moon. (Vid of Gingrich vs. Juan Williams on welfare and standing ovation from crowd here.)

Exit question: Too little, too late?

Inconvenient reminder of core incompetencies. Good debate nights can’t fix those.

***

Washington Times, Joseph Curl:
Goodbye, Newt, and good riddance

***

Romney endorser Nikki Haley tweeted tonight: “Great debate tonight in South Carolina! The energy of the people in the state is electric!”

FNC’s Sean Hannity agreed.

Transcript of the debate via @FoxNewsInsider here.

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