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Party activists and potential contributors were watching last night as ten candidates for the Republican presidential nomination faced off in California. Did McCain or Giuliani make any mistakes? Did Romney earn his place in the top tier? We talk with several Republicans about them and the rest of the field.  On Reporter's Notebook, in France, a Conservative and a Socialist are battling it out for the center with the presidential election this coming Sunday.

Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Main Topic Iraq Conference Wraps Up

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice did not succeed in meeting with Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki last night in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.  This morning Mottaki said it's time for the United States to announce plans to withdraw troops from Iraq and blamed the US for sectarian violence there.  Michael Slackman is Cairo Bureau Chief for the New York Times.

Michael Slackman, Foreign Correspondent, New York Times

Reporter's Notebook 48 Hours and Counting before French Presidential Election

Presidential politics has riveted France like nothing in years. The audience for this week’s final debate was almost as large as it was for last years World Soccer Cup finals.  On that two and a half-hour TV debate, Socialist Ségolène Royal -- the first woman candidate for President -- came on strong. Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy played it cool -- despite his reputation for a quick temper.  Both are fighting it out for the center.  James Graff is Paris Bureau Chief for Time magazine.

James Graff, Paris Bureau Chief for Time magazine

Main Topic GOP Candidates Face Off in Presidential Debate

Last night at the Reagan Library in California, ten candidates got a total of 90 minutes to make their cases for the Republican presidential nomination.  The name of Ronald Reagan was invoked 19 times.  President Bush was hardly mentioned.  Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Senator John McCain, who lead in the polls, faced off with Mitt Romney and seven lesser-known hopefuls trying to get into the top tier. The former Massachusetts Governor is included in the top tier because he has so much money.  Where would they take the country on Iraq, Iran, illegal immigration and Roe versus Wade?  We hear from the Christian, moderate and fiscal-conservative wings of the party.  Who said what they wanted to hear?  Who would appeal to Democrats and Independents?

Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform
Barrett Duke, VP of Public Policy for the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
Charlie Bass, former Congressman (R-NH)
Bruce Bartlett, journalist and historian (@BruceBartlett)
Ron Brownstein, Atlantic / CNN (@RonBrownstein)

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