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It may sound cynical but I'd venture that Mark Penn is thinking--and was quite possibly saying in some conference call this morning--that scary new turmoil in Pakistan is a political boon for a candidate whose closing argument had already centered on tested, "steady" leadership in an uncertain world.

Last-minute news events can be decisive. Many in the 2004 Kerry campaign were convinced the late October release of a videotaped bin Laden message raised voter anxiety about national security and cost them the election.

Somewhat relatedly, a new Edwards campaign memo had already been warning that Hillary "will spend the week touting her national security credentials in a move that echoes George Bush's 2004 campaign." Regardless of what Hillary actually says about the Bhutto assassination, no doubt we'll be hearing more of that complaint in the days to come.

--Michael Crowley