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Huckabee Takes "Center Stage" In Iowa

Wednesday, 12 Dec 2007 | 2:31 PM ET
Mike Huckabee
Mike Huckabee

This afternoon's Republican presidential debate in Des Moines may seem like just another in a long series, but it really isn't. It's the first debate with Mike Huckabee as the Iowa front-runner.

This reflects a dramatic reordering of the GOP race. If Huckabee beats Mitt Romney here, Romney's chances of winning New Hampshire and rocketing to the nomination erode. Who can take advantage--Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Fred Thompson, or Huckabee himself--is anybody's guess.

Romney is already attacking Huckabee in TV ads on immigration. Look for more of the same in this afternoon's debate. Huckabee is defending himself by touting his endorsement by the head of the "Minuteman" anti-illegal immigration group.

Stay tuned--this wild campaign is about to get wilder.

Iowa GOP Debate Preview
A preview of tonight's Iowa GOP debate, with John Harris, of Politico.com, and CNBC's John Harwood

Questions? Comments? Write to politicalcapital@cnbc.com.