Gerry Adams' performance in a TV debate badly damaged Sinn Fein in the 2007 Dail election.
It didn’t happen this time.
Then, Michael McDowell of the now defunct PDs pinned the Sinn Fein leader on the economy.
Mr Adams failed to impress with unfounded spending promises and generalities about human rights instead of specific answers.
This time other leaders tried to repeat the trick.
“You are a magician,” taunted Micheal Martin, accusing Mr Adams of plucking billions from thin air.
However, it didn’t seem to dent the Sinn Fein leader’s confidence.
He repeated his prepared script of “not giving a red cent to the banks”, despite the fact that his party had voted to guarantee bank debts in the Dail and called for “a new republic”.
He wanted to take €7bn from a pension fund with €4.9bn in it and tell the IMF to keep their loans.
In 2007, such details were telling, but in 2011 they barely register.
Established economic experts, the ones without Mr Adams’s magic hat, had made such a mess of things that the Sinn Fein leader could hold his own.
Overall, he did little to either reverse or hasten his party’s slow slide in recent polls.