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So I hustled to my computer to beat Pete to debate posting, only to find out he’s already been here three times.

My headline is an apology for my earlier “Is Romney Finished?” I follow the Republican establishment in consistently overreacting.

Listen, Santorum won the debate big-time. He whipped Romney all over the stage on health care. He knew all about the governor of Puerto Rico, and how to make his wife and BIG family sound as wonderful as they doubtlessly are. Straussians take note: Although all the candidates throw the Declaration of Independence around, Santorum actually explained with conceptual precision and eloquence what faith has to do with it. The distinction is between those who believe that government exists to protect God-given rights and the evildoing Dmeocratic who believe that rights are granted by government. And what government grants, government can take away.

The big things: Santorum was extremely well prepared for the debate. He sounded authentic and informed throughout, and his answers were consistently clever. He did a fine job of standing above the politics of personal destruction of Romney vs. Gingrich. Even the liberal elite media now have a genuine respect for him.

Romney’s aggressiveness was at least semi-effective against Newt. Newt was unprepared and lacking in any real strategy. In his effort to take Wolf Blitzer down, he was defeated by Wolf, Mitt, and Rick. If Newt talks trash about Romney on a talk show, he can’t get all indignant about a question about what he actually said.

Ron Paul wasn’t bad.

Newt, the great debater, finished fourth. His momentum was already spent, and debates are the only way he has to revive it. There’s now no reason why Romney won’t big in FL.

Confident that Romney will now be the winner who will take all, will some FL voters feel free to give their hearts to Santorum, who was compelling on every issue conservatives care about?

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