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NYT mag moves ahead with 'timid' Romney story -- despite debate performance

While widely accepted by even liberal pundits that not only did Mitt Romney dominate last week's debate but he pushed the race into a virtual tie, you'd never know it by reading the latest New York Times Sunday Magazine piece -- which characterizes the Republican nominee as "timid" and "error-prone." 

The piece, which describes a deflated Republican Party whose ideology may be "courting obsolescence," appeared to make scant reference to the latest campaign game-changer. 

Indeed, the reporter makes clear in the second paragraph of his story, dated Tuesday, that he spoke with a primary source when "Romney still had three debates in which to make his case."

However, the reporter gives no indication that he included in the story a sense of what's happened since the Oct. 3 debate -- including Gallup and Rasmussen polls showing Romney surging on the heels of his performance.

The New York Times did not respond Wednesday morning to requests for comment.

The story, titled "Is There Life after Mitt?" appears slated for this Sunday and suggests Republicans are struggling with "extremists" within the party to form an identity.

The suggestion that the reporter added little to the story after the debate was first made by the website NewsBusters

The story "appears to have been written before Romney's successful debate performance last week," NewsBusters writes. "Not many voters would categorize today's Romney as a 'timid, error-prone candidate.'"

A reader asked in the Times' online comment section: "This article will be published on October 14th? When was it written? Romney handily won the center in the October 3rd debate and easily painted Obama as a champion of big government, crony capitalism, and failed policies."

After that debate, a Gallup survey showed Romney leading Obama 49-47 percent among likely voters.

A Rasmussen poll -- based entirely on interviews conducted after the debate and released Sunday -- showed Romney having the support of 49 percent of voters nationwide, compared to 47 percent for Obama.