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Doherty trumpets endorsement from Simpson and Bowles

Republican Congressional candidate Brendan Doherty is trumpeting a new joint statement of support from former Republican Senator Alan Simpson and Democrat Erskine Bowles, former chief of staff for President Clinton.

Simpson and Bowles co-chaired a commission, chartered by President Obama, that pressed to find a bi-partisan solution to the nation's deficit problems, combining cuts and new tax revenue.

The Simpson-Bowles proposal came under fire from left and right. But whatever its imperfections, it has come to represent the sort of sensible centrism beyond the reach of our increasingly polarized politics.

It is, in short, the perfect symbol for the product Doherty is selling. And the Simpson-Bowles endorsement, combined with Doherty's unexpectedly strong performance in Channel 10's low-key, sit-down debate last month, and his homestretch financial advantage add up to a serious candidacy.

But will that strength, combined with the weaknesses of Democratic incumbent David Cicilline, be enough to put him over the top? Is moderation, no matter how formidable, a winner in a deeply polarized presidential campaign season? We'll soon see.

Certainly makes tonight's Cicilline-Doherty debate - the first high-profile, stand-up clash between the candidates - interesting.

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