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In their second debate last night, ten candidates refined their arguments for the Republican presidential nomination. Will success in the primaries depend on the Christian right? What about moderates and independents in the general election? Does the GOP need a broader appeal than the one that elected George W.Bush? Also, Democrats in the Senate split over the Iraq War and, on Reporter's Notebook, what's the reason for rising food prices? Will there be any relief?

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Christian Bordal
Vanessa Romo
Frances Anderton
Karen Radziner

Making News Senate Rejects Iraq Bills Contingent on Troop Withdrawal 5 MIN, 50 SEC

Democrats in the Senate divided today on whether to stop funding the war in Iraq by March 31 of next year.  The measure was defeated 67 to  29, with both Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama on the losing side.  Noam Levey reports on Congress for the Los Angeles Times.

Noam Levey, Los Angeles Times (@NoamLevey )

Main Topic Is the Grand Old Party Showing Its Age? 36 MIN, 45 SEC

It's conventional wisdom that the Republican Party is dominated by Christian Conservatives.  Last night, ten white males lined up on a stage in South Carolina to make their cases for the Republican presidential nomination.  Since their last debate two weeks ago in California, some of the candidates have refined their ideas and positions. As a Republican candidate for President, Mitt Romney has different positions on key social issues than he did as Governor of liberal Massachusetts.  But Rudolph Giuliani and John McCain are ahead in Republican Party polls, despite liberal views on issues like abortion and stem-cell research. Will that change with greater exposure or has the formula that made George Bush president lost its luster for 2008?

Other GOP presidential candidates include:

Karen Tumulty, Washington Post (@ktumulty)
Dan Gilgoff, CNN (@dangilgoffCNN)
Richard Land, Southern Baptist Convention (@erlcsbc)
Christopher Barron, GOProud / Guardian (@ChrisRBarron)

Reporter's Notebook Food Prices on the Rise 6 MIN, 21 SEC

Today's Los Angeles Times reports that food prices are rising faster than they have in the past 15 years, using figures provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The reasons include drought, freezing weather, the rising price of gasoline and even the increased cost of corn.  Brian Todd is President of the Food Institute, a nonprofit supported by growers, processors and retailers.

Brian Todd, President of The Food Institute


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