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LAS VEGAS — The Republicans who want to be commander in chief are set to debate Tuesday for the first time since deadly terrorist attacks rocked Europe and the United States, leaving many Americans anxious about their personal security.

That concern, pronounced among Republican primary voters, provides both opportunity and risk for the GOP presidential candidates. Those who project a sense of command and competence on foreign policy and national security issues could have a break out moment and shake up the 2016 campaign. Those who fail the commander in chief test, precisely as Republicans are looking for a strong leader to take on the terrorist threat, could see their campaigns irreparably damaged.

"Terrorism and foreign policy will be a big part of this," said Republican pollster David Winston, who is not aligned with any candidate. "There has been some interesting movement among candidates since the last debate, among the top four or five in particular. This reflects an electorate that is thinking through options, and they are about to get a significant discussion that can introduce new constructs to this primary."

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