Arizona hosted the 20th GOP debate of this election cycle last night, and what followed was a wide-ranging discussion of issues ... and a familiar personal slap-fest.
It's all the same, only the names change. Wednesday, it was Rick Santorum in the coveted, yet also unfortunate role of the guy Mitt Romney trains his sights on.
Romney and Santorum clashed over the federal government's power in a high-stakes debate that might have been the last in the roller-coaster campaign.
Ron Paul was Ron Paul, defiantly making the case for liberty and getting far too little screen time. Newt Gingrich? He may have effectively called it quits.
The combative, knock-'em-out Newt was AWOL. Instead, the jovial Uncle Newt was back, playing everyone's wingman (and promising $2.50/gallon gas).
It was like mid-to-late 2011 again as Gingrich the enthusiastic, vigorously nodding candidate who would never speak ill of a fellow Republican resurfaced.
Even with his now-infamous media foil, CNN's John King, as the moderator, too. Go figure. A shift in strategy as he looks for a third comeback? Maybe.
He'd surely take it if it happened. But equally likely is that his moment passed, he knows it, and is looking to mend fences with his rivals and America.
The debate was held in the southwestern state of Arizona six days before primaries there and in Romney's native Michigan, which he loves everything about.
Romney still faces skepticism among Republicans who dislike his shifting stances on issues, but it was Santorum being called a "fake" conservative by Paul.