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Trump Will Trump

Romney then appeared on media the next day as almost gleeful and self-assured in his criticism. Obama and Clinton by contrast appeared serious and sorrowed. Romney's numbers sank immediately. Along with the 47 percent comment, it was one of the most damaging moments in the general election campaign (probably underestimated in the post-mortem analysis of the 2012 contest).

Another important note this morning. Clinton has come out saying that she does not mind using the term "radical Islamism" or "radical jihadism." But she is drawing the line on action, not semantics, rejecting Trump's call for policies aimed at all adherents of Islam.

Besides the fact that I agree with Clinton that "radical Islamism" is appropriate for cautious deployment as a term of reference in the current environment, it is also politically smart. Her careful choice of language, and her distancing of semantics from policy, will help de-mine some of the language about "political correctness."

Of course, anything can happen in the coming weeks and months. More attacks could change the equation. But these are reasons to think that Trump's and Clinton's reactions to this event will not necessarily feed Trump momentum or votes.

About The Author

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David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.