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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

5 things we learned from SC primary



Only a week ago, Mitt Romney seemed to be on a glide path to the nomination. South Carolinians shook everything up. Here's what we learned from the Palmetto State primary:

1. Florida is crucial. Mitt Romney could afford to lose South Carolina, where early on he looked like an underdog anyway. But Florida is his fire wall, buttressed by a strong campaign organization, a flush campaign account and a large network of supporters built over more than five years running for president. Losing here would snuff what's left of his aura of inevitability after winning only one of three early contests.

2. Mitt Romney's electability argument is diminished. He looks like a president, he consistently performs well in debates, he apparently has zero personal baggage, and polls consistently show the former Massachusetts governor strongest against President Barack Obama. But for such a disciplined and cautious campaigner, Romney has a knack for clumsy, unforced errors. He had long benefitted from a "most electable" perception, but that case is harder to make seeing Romney look smug and flat-footed over predictable questions about his tax returns or suggesting $374,000 in speaking fees is not much money.

3. Newt Gingrich owes CNN's John King a big thank you....

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[Last modified: Saturday, January 21, 2012 9:54pm]


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