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IPFS News Link • Politics: Republican Campaigns

Republican debate in Mesa puts Arizona in spotlight

• by Gary Nelson

Still sweeping confetti from its centennial celebration, Arizona gets another ego boost this week when it hosts a debate that will help decide who carries the Republican banner into the 2012 presidential election.

The eyes of the world will be on Mesa when CNN hosts the 20th -- and possibly last -- GOP presidential debate of the season.

The verbal pyrotechnics will erupt just six days before Arizona and Michigan hold their presidential primaries on Feb. 28.

The Michigan vote, in particular, could be pivotal because Mitt Romney can ill afford to lose his home state, where he has been sagging in the polls as Rick Santorum surges.

CNN, however, never gave Michigan a glance when looking for a place to hold this debate.

Sam Feist, CNN's Washington bureau chief and executive producer of its debate coverage, said the network wanted an Arizona debate because the state's issues in many ways mirror those of the country at large.