At Los Angeles Times, "Attacks on Romney may pack more punch this fall."
Seems as if Romney weathered the Meet the Press debate just fine, but...
The wicked way that WHDH-TV's Andy Hiller asked a question -- in effect, what have you done for gay people lately? -- put Romney in the odd position of delivering a clarion call for compassion toward gays and lesbians.
"If people are looking for someone who will discriminate against gays or will in any way try and suggest that people that have different sexual orientation don't have full rights in this country, they won't find that in me," Romney said.
A commendable sentiment, many might say. But it is also the kind of statement that has a way of finding its way onto leaflets on car windshields outside churches in places like, say, South Carolina; it's not a message that's going to resonate well with many of the evangelicals who vote in Republican primaries.
But the attacks on Romney's role at Bain Capital, the investment firm he co-founded, may prove even more damaging. By portraying the company as a job-destroying malefactor of Wall Street greed, fellow Republicans are laying a foundation upon which the Obama campaign will eagerly build.
If anyone assumes that all will be forgotten -- Romney won New Hampshire! He's vetted! None of that matters! -- it helps to recall:
In 1988, it was not Republicans but a Democrat -- Al Gore -- who first raised the issue of weekend furloughs for convicted killers, which helped destroy the presidential hopes of another former Massachusetts governor, Michael Dukakis. The subject came up during a Democratic debate ahead of the New York primary; it did Gore little good -- he lost badly -- and did nothing to slow Dukakis' march to the nomination.
In the fall, however, Republicans seized on the case of Willie Horton, who raped a woman and stabbed and pistol-whipped her boyfriend while on weekend release, and used it to devastating effect against Dukakis.
If Bain proves to be Romney's bane, you won't know it from what happens here in New Hampshire. It will be clear only when, and if, he wins the nomination and faces Obama and his team of bruisers in the fall.