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Ron Paul loses the battle for the mic

January 25, 2008 | 11:15 am

By most accounts, it wasn't much of a debate in Florida last night among the surviving Republican presidential candidates. Everyone played nicely, for the most part, and stuck to their campaign scripts. And though the campaigns struggled to prove to the political world that Candidate X had shined in the debate, in the end it was one of those set-tos that everybody has probably forgotten by now. No blood drawn, no ground broken.

But the folks at MSNBC.com did something fun that's worth digesting. They kept a clock going of how long and how often each candidate spoke. Mitt Romney topped out at 13 comments totaling 21 minutes and 11 seconds, making him much more long-winded than current front-runner John McCain, who got his 13 comments in in 16 minutes.

Who came in dead-last on the chat clock? Ron Paul -- six comments lasting 6 minutes and 31 seconds. While brevity is to be admired in politics -- we tend to admire things that are rare -- the Paulistas aren't likely to be pleased that Paul got less than half the opportunities to talk as Romney and McCain. A complete transcript is available here.

-- Scott Martelle

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