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TheStreet Open House

Romney 2012 Buzz Vulnerable Despite Debate

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Mitt Romney strode through Monday's debate in New Hampshire with Republican hopefuls without actually debating anything or giving voters any sense of how his arguments would hold up under fire.

Fortunately for critics of candidate Romney, there are plenty of opportunities for rebuttal.

Many called Mitt Romney the winner in a Monday debate of Republican presidential hopefuls, but he'll face a different kind of questions and challenges before November 2012.

The former Massachusetts governor was roundly declared the winner of Monday's debate by observers for the mere fact that he didn't give up any ground. He basically ignored the rest of the GOP field and jumped right to President Barack Obama, saying "I can't wait to debate him." He vowed to tear down Obama's health care plan with nary a word about the similar plan he constructed during his tenure in Massachusetts. Most impressively, he scared that plan's most vocal critic -- former Minnesota Gov. Tim "Obamneycare" Pawlenty -- into guarded silence on the topic before pronouncing that "everyone on this stage would be a better president than Obama."

Richard Parker, co-founder of Mother Jones magazine and public policy lecturer at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, doubts Romney's path to the GOP's 2012 presidential nomination will always be this smooth. An economist and former consultant to Congressional clients including Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., John Glenn, D-Ohio, Alan Cranston, D-Calif., and George McGovern, D-S.D., Parker feels Romney is a lot more vulnerable than his bulletproof debate performance let on and that his business dealings and personal fortune may play as big a role in his campaign as his political views.

TheStreet spoke with Parker about Romney, his years with Bain & Co. and Bain Capital and his identity as a business-minded candidate in the current political and economic climate and found a few potential pitfalls for the GOP frontrunner once the pleasantries die down and his opponents start picking away:

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