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CNN's practice for the GOP debate was a lot more contentious than the real thing

CNN's practice for the GOP debate was a lot more contentious than the real thing

In the political debate business, you hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

On a beautiful sunshine-filled Florida day before the 12th Republican presidential primary debate on Thursday night, CNN's political team, producers, executives and correspondents were hunkered down in a conference room at the Biltmore Hotel, a posh Mediterranean-style resort in Coral Gables.

Standing at the front of the room were four members of the cable news channel's political team from Washington. Each of them had a photocopied picture of a Republican candidate — Sen. Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. John Kasich — attached to their shirts with metal binder...

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