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After a good look at their records many Republicans would conclude Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Governor Mitt Romney are a pair of typical northeastern Republicans. And that’s pretty much how Giuliani has run for President, not varnishing (at least not much) his past stands on issues like gay rights. As a result he peaked the day he announced and it’s been down hill ever since. He now trails in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Romney, on the other hand, has turned over a new leaf, saying he’s seen the error of his ways and been born again. Like Cher in a spa he’s had a complete makeover. And he’s now the frontrunner in Iowa, New Hampshire and – of all places on earth for an (until-recently) liberal Massachusetts Governor to lead – in South Carolina.

The other candidates have more or less stuck to their guns too. Fred Thompson hasn’t been reborn as Jesse Helms or Strom Thurmond. And Mike Huckabee’s stuck to his guns even on unpopular issues like immigration.

The puzzlement is Romney – even with videotapes of him flip-flopping floating all over the Internet – has pulled it off. You’d think he’d be a sitting duck but no one’s laid a glove on him. Instead, Thompson and Giuliani and Huckabee (until his recent boomlet in Iowa) have been eating the dust of a man who’s set a kind of record when it comes to inconsistency.

Candidates flip-flopping to win an election is as old as original sin but Romney’s rewriting the book on how to get ahead in politics.

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