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State of the Race

Assorted Sunday follies.

9:40 AM, Dec 31, 2007 • By DEAN BARNETT
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McCain will have yet another hurdle to get over if Romney comes out of Iowa with a victory. If McCain follows up a Romney victory in Iowa with a win of his own in New Hampshire, it will become a very interesting (and very unpleasant) two man race. But McCain will have his work cut out for him in the Granite State.

One wrinkle to bear in mind--CNN and Fox have both scheduled debates in the four days between Iowa and New Hampshire. The networks have planned exclusive affairs, inviting only the five serious contenders. So the would be POTUSes on stage will number five at most, if you catch my drift.

What happens in those debates will drown out everything else in the days before New Hampshire. Assuming a Romney victory in Iowa, all of the other candidates will target him. But Romney's smooth, impressive, and usually unflappable at these shindigs. Then again, we've never seen such a small gathering of Republican contenders get it on. In all likelihood, those debates will be the shrinking field's last opportunity to derail Romney. They will also be Romney's chance to secure victory.

One last note--the most impressive candidate on the Sunday talk shows yesterday was Fred Thompson on Fox News Sunday. For the FredHeads, his performance had to be a dispiriting reminder of what could have been if he and they hadn't together drunk the Kool-Aid about the magic of the internet. Hopefully the political consultants and their future clients were making a mental note of that.

Dean Barnett is a staff writer at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.