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Doyle McManus explains Mitt Romney’s success in last week’s debate:

Once the two candidates met on an equal footing in Denver, many voters were amazed to meet a Romney who seemed like an earnest businessman looking for ways to fix the economy — a Romney who insisted that, contrary to his previously stated positions, he didn’t want to cut taxes for the wealthy, abandon healthcare reform or reduce education spending (issues that polls find especially important to female voters).

But at least he’s still militantly anti-abortion, right? Ummm….

“There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda,” the Republican presidential nominee told The Des Moines Register in an interview. The Romney campaign walked back the remark within two hours of the Register posting its story. Spokeswoman Andrea Saul told the National Review Online’s Katrina Trinko that Romney “would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life.”

Got it. For public consumption, Romney barely considers abortion worth a mention. For the conservative press, he’s a gung-ho abortion warrior. Or, as David Brooks remarked in his usual low-key way on Frontline last night, describing Romney’s sudden lurch to the right when he decided to run for president:

He went to where the market was and he became the product he was selling. And that, on the one hand, is sort of effective. On the other hand, it’s sort of disquieting. Because you think, who is he? What would he be as president? Does he believe anything? And these are the open questions that plague everybody who watches him.

Romney’s business career taught him a lot about the power of market research and brand management. It’s nice that he’s found a new career where he can put that to use, isn’t it?

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