The satisfying victory Mitt Romney harvested in New Hampshire's primary this week was marred by the late eruption of a blemish. It could be a passing cloud in the otherwise blue Romney sky, or it could be the sign of storms ahead.
Does anyone remember Willie Horton? Does anyone remember the tragic trajectory of another Massachusetts governor, Michael Dukakis, in 1988?
If the Palmetto State, the "First in the South" primary, plays its traditional role in the Republican presidential nomination process, it will be where the White House hopes of virtually every candidate except the eventual nominee will go to die in about 10 days.
It's not for nothing that it's called the "South Carolina Firewall." And at this moment, it's looking like it's Romney's firewall.
In politics, success breeds success. That's why Mitt Romney is looking strong as attention turns to the next Republican primary in South Carolina.
Any expectations that Romney's fortunes might fade were overturned Tuesday in New Hampshire. The former Massachusetts governor won a solid plurality with some 39 percent of the vote — more than 15 percentage points ahead of his nearest rival, Texas Rep. Ron Paul.