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Lilly Ledbetter and Ann Romney: Gone in six seconds

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M. Spencer Green/AP/File

(Read caption) In this March 19 file photo, Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, talks with audience members after her husband spoke at the University of Chicago, in Chicago.

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How long does it take to set D.C. media/communications mafiosi gunning?

In the Washington spin cycle, gaffes can go from a spokesman's mouth to full-blown tempest in a teapot in a mere six seconds. 

Six. Seconds. One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Missis....

Case in point: Wednesday's Lilly Ledbetter news moment. In case you missed it (and you likely did), Wednesday began bright and gay as many days do: with a conference call with a group of surrogates from one of the presidential camps.

In this case, it was Team Romney on offense.

Until they took a simple, nonhostile question from HuffingtonPost's Sam Stein: "Does Governor Romney support the Lilly Ledbetter Act?"

Six seconds went by. "Sam," an unidentified voice replied, "we'll have to get back to you on that."

Wait, that doesn't sound like a massive newsmaking event to you? Au contraire.

The Ledbetter Act, the first piece of legislation President Obama signed in 2009, expanded the ability for citizens to sue their employers for unfair pay. Passing Congress with only three Republican votes (all in the House), it was a big win for Mr. Obama with women, in no small part because while anyone can sue his or her employer for pay issues, Ms. Ledbetter was a woman and the case had picked up many prominent backers among women's rights organizations.

So the question put the Romney people in a vise. Republicans, whom former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney must convince he isn't a mushy moderate, despise the law. Women, whom current polling tells us are going to vote for Barack Obama in droves, love it.

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