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Does Mitt Romney have the GOP presidential nomination wrapped up?

One by one, Mitt Romney's GOP rivals have taken runs at him, trumpeting his failures as a true conservative and his flip-flopping. But one by one, they’ve stumbled, and at the moment the race for the GOP nomination seems like Romney’s to lose.

By Staff writer / October 23, 2011

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during an economic roundtable at the Treynor State Bank Thursday in Treynor, Iowa.

Charlie Neibergall/AP

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It’s looking more and more like Mitt Romney has the Republican presidential nomination in the bag.

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One by one, his declared GOP rivals have taken runs at him, trumpeting his failures as a true conservative (see “Romneycare” with its dreaded individual mandate when he was governor of Massachusetts) and his flip-flopping on such issues as abortion, climate change, and the auto industry bailout (see http://mittromneyflipflops.com/).

Sometimes they’ve gotten him hot under his normally well-starched collar, as Rick Perry did on immigration in last week’s debate when he accused Romney of the “height of hypocrisy” – a charge you might think would be reserved for something a little more important than who a lawn care contractor hired.

But one by one, they’ve stumbled – Perry on immigration himself, his family’s hunting camp with its racist name, and a prominent evangelical supporter’s slur about Romney’s Mormon religion; Herman Cain’s own flip-flopping on abortion, the holes in his “9-9-9” economic plan, and an apparent lack of knowledge on foreign affairs.

Cain jokes about being "the flavor of the month" (he identifies with Haagen-Dazs Black Walnut). But there’s truth to the ice cream imagery, especially the tendency to melt. Ask Michele Bachmann, once thought to be the tea party favorite – until Perry and then Cain rose in the polling charts, knocking her down to single digits.

Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman? Still yet to make much of a mark in national polling or even state organization straw polls.

Libertarian Ron Paul always will be a special case, and he can do well in straw polls – especially when organized bunches of his enthusiastic followers show up to vote. But really, try to imagine a Republican presidential candidate these days who would not support a constitutional ban on abortion, who would cut defense spending by nearly a billion dollars, or who would end all US aid to Israel. Hard, isn’t it?

(“Typical mainstream media view!” I hear Paul supporters crying. Guilty as charged.)

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