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The Fix Does Manchester

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- The Fix landed earlier tonight in the Queen City and managed to catch an event for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney before calling it a night. To borrow a phrase from comic Yakov Smirnoff -- the best, and perhaps only, Russian comic -- "America: What a country!"

The race enters New Hampshire a changed contest. The one-time frontrunners -- Romney and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) -- have been toppled by two insurgent candidates, both of whom emerged as THE stories coming out of Iowa. For Romney and Clinton the next four days are crucial; Both need wins in New Hampshire to steady their campaigns and point to future fights in Nevada, Michigan, Florida and the cavalcade of states set to vote on Feb. 5.

As we were jetting here -- Southwest Airlines since the FixJet was unavailable -- we couldn't get a comment made by former president Bill Clinton at an event in Iowa a few days ago out of our head.

"The next president, unless he or she is locked in a closet for four years, will sooner or later fail at something," said the former president. "What you need to know is how your leader would respond to failure."

Hillary Clinton's third-place finish in Iowa amounts to just the sort of failure her husband was talking about that freezing night in Iowa. He argued that following Hillary's failure to pass universal healthcare reform, she didn't give up but rather reorganized and worked to pass broadened children'' health insurance coverage. "She doesn't quit and that's a good thing in a leader," he added.

Can the Clintons pull of another political miracle? Fix mentor -- and leading Clinton-ologist -- John F. Harris -- has a terrific piece up right now over at that looks at how much of the Clinton legacy is at stake in next Tuesday's vote. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 4, 2008; 11:37 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: FixCam: Romney's Post-Iowa Message

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