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South Carolina debate is rush to the right

South Carolina debate is rush to the right
Ron Paul may be the least crazy Republican. (David Horsey / Los Angeles Times)

Reporting from Myrtle Beach, S.C. -- If

Mitt Romney

is a moderate, he's learned to hide it well, as evidenced in the Republican presidential debate Monday night.

While his prime opponents,

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Rick Santorum
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and

Newt Gingrich

, have traveled the state trying to convince

GOP

primary voters that the former governor from Taxachusetts is a weak-kneed moderate, they have been undercut by Romney's consistent hard right rhetoric. He's got the most aggressive position on illegal immigrants -- "send 'em all back!" He's unwilling to cut a cent from defense spending. He brags about his pro-life beliefs. He condemns gay marriage. He says released felons should never be able to regain voting rights. He wants to cut regulations and taxes just like the rest of them. And, as he made clear in the debate, he'd happily put a bullet in the head of any terrorist.

If this guy's not a conservative, then he sure knows how to play one on TV.

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