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A Good (and Lucky) Night for Romney

1:31 AM, Jan 24, 2012 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
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This was the kind of gaffe that fits the prevailing media narrative about the race—at least right now. It doesn't take much imagination to see television networks replaying the Williams-Romney exchange in a way that suggests Romney didn't provide a good answer because he couldn't. But coming as it did at the very end of the debate, Romney’s answer didn’t get much scrutiny. Print reporters in the filing center, under very tight deadlines, had already written the ledes to their stories – many of which focused on Romney’s strong exchange with Gingrich more than an hour earlier. Many judges among the twitterati had already offered their “winners” and “losers” of the debate.

So Romney’s potentially damaging answer will not likely get the attention it might have had it come earlier in the night. And the rest of his performance was strong enough that the debate probably registers as a win for him.

Still, unlike Gingrich’s memorable moments from the two South Carolina debates, nothing in Monday’s debate seems likely to alter the race in Florida in any serious way, either by boosting Romney or slowing Gingrich’s momentum.

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