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T-Minus Three Hours

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- And now we wait.

There's about three more hours until the 10 Republicans take the stage here at the Kroger Center for the second presidential debate and the media filing center is starting to buzz. (For those of you who aren't familiar with how these debates work, the press doesn't actually get to go into the debate. We watch it on TV like most of the rest of America.)

Operatives for the various candidates are already working the room with expectation-setting the name of the game. Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) set a high bar for himself with his performance in the first Republican presidential debate. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani needs a stronger performance to bounce back from a tough few weeks dominated by talk of his position on abortion. Sen. John McCain, by contrast, has a good last 10 days or so and will look to build momentum tonight.

All three frontrunners have already put out statements expressing sadness at the passing of Rev. Jerry Falwell; expect all ten of the candidates to find a way to pay homage to Falwell this evening.

Looking to kill time before the debate starts?

Check out the behind the scenes footage being provided by Romney's campaign. Or log onto McCain's blog to see what questions people think are most likely to be asked.

Heck, you could even check out "Story Conference", my biweekly chat with political reporters about the stories of the day. Post Congressional Correspondent Shailagh Murray and Slate Political Correspondent John Dickerson join me this week.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 15, 2007; 5:55 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: Liveblogging the GOP Debate: A Disclaimer

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