Hugh Hewitt
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Will ABC's interview of Marianne Ginrich matter in the South Carolina primary?

Will Mitt Romney's wealth and "effective tax rate of 15%" hurt him in the Palmetto State?

Will the endorsement of Rick Santorum by key Evangelical leaders over the past weekend in Texas swing him crucial support on Saturday?

Answers on these questions in a moment, but first a reminder that those are the wrong questions.

This is a 13 state election: Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. These are the states into which will pour perhaps as much as two billion dollars in advertising and campaign ground game for they are the states "in play" in the fall. The three questions above should be reframed and asked again: How will those issues play in those states? South Carolina will vote "red" regardless of wh is the GOP nominee in 2012. But if the Republican nominee cannot take most of these 13 other states, he won't be moving into 1600 come January of 2013, and a second four years of President Obama's uniquely destructive presidency will have begun.

ABC's manipulation of the Marianne Gingrich interview, and indeed the network's willingness to even go and get it, also should remind every voter that no subject will be out-of-bounds for the president's legion of pals in the Manhattan-Beltway media elite. Drudge reported yesterday and the New York Times confirmed today that there was an internal debate at ABC over when to air the Marianne Gingrich interview. Some are alleged to have thought it "too close" to the voting in South Carolina, but of course such considerations didn't stop the nets from running with the George W. Bush DUI in 2000 or the Los Angeles Times from sitting on --still, four years into his presidency-- the Rashid Khalidi dinner tape. MSM runs or doesn't run the stories it can control and can manipulate based on very strange calculations that always seem to end up helping the Democrats.

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Hugh Hewitt

Hugh Hewitt is host of a nationally syndicated radio talk show. Hugh Hewitt's new book is The War On The West.