POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/4

Iowa Caucus Results

CNN entrance polls show Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in the top tier of candidates. No surprises.

Entrance polls of those who arrived early: Paul and Romney lead with 24%, followed by Santorum at 18%, Gingrich at 13%, Perry at 11% and Bachmann at 7%.

One prediction I’ll make: Entrance polls will seem way off from final results because caucus attendees can react to the data as it comes in on their phones.

Complete entrance polls — early and late arrivals — show Paul leading with 24%, Romney at 23%, Santorum at 23%, and Gingrich at 13%.

NBC News election models show first and second place within .3%. They also conclude entrance polls overestimated Paul’s strength.

Official caucus results are rolling in.

The Republican party is seriously fractured. Each of the leading three candidates represents a very different segment of the GOP.

It’s clear Romney seriously misplayed the expectations game. Anything less than a win and he’ll be slaughtered by the media for the next week.

NBC News will not call the race and instead wait for all the votes to be counted. It’s just too close to call.

It looks like turnout will be no higher than it was for the caucuses four years ago undercutting the argument there’s a lot of GOP enthusiasm.

Romney is unlikely to improve on his 2008 finish. It looks like he’ll get roughly the same percentage of the vote.

NBC News now projects Paul will finish in third place.

We don’t know the winner yet, but this will be the closest Iowa caucus result ever.

 

Newt Gingrich as Jerry Brown?

Jonathan Bernstein says Newt Gingrich never had a chance to win the GOP nomination — “he’s Sarah Palin without the fanatical supporters but with the marital history of John Edwards” — but he could play the role Jerry Brown did in the 1992 Democratic presidential campaign.

“In that year, Brown (who was at that point a washed-up has-been of a politician) was almost completely ignored while Bill Clinton went about wrapping up the nomination. However, late in the day, Brown wound up getting some attention and even won a primary, allowing the press to temporarily pretend that he was a real threat to Clinton’s nomination for a week or two.”

 

Why is Iowa First?

David Redlawsk, co-author of Why Iowa?, explains in an interview with Ezra Klein:

“It’s sort of a funny story. In 1972, the revised Democratic rules coming out of the 1968 debacle required that notice be given of caucuses and primaries that would select party delegates. Prior to that, party bosses could schedule primaries without telling anyone. But the new rules required a 30-day requirement. Iowa’s system has four parts — the caucus, then the county convention, then the congressional district conventions, then the state conventions — so, to give a 30-day notice for all of them, Iowa had to start advertising early.”

“The second part, the state convention, is normally held in June. In 1972, they looked and found there were no available hotel rooms in Des Moines on the planned weekend. So they pushed the convention back. And that meant they had to push the caucuses back. And that’s how they ended up in January, in front of New Hampshire. It was not a plan, and in 1972, it made no difference. Edmund Muskie spent about a day there. But in 1976, Jimmy Carter’s campaign noticed Iowa was first and decided to invest some time. He ultimately came in second to uncommitted, but his win got him attention, and ultimately helped him get to the White House.”

 

Rematch in Wisconsin?

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) is “seriously considering” running in a potential recall election of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and will make an announcement in early January, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

“Barrett has been reluctant to discuss the recall race publicly, repeatedly pointing out that he has a re-election contest slated for the spring. But it now appears that he will face only token opposition in his bid to win a third term as Milwaukee’s CEO.”

Joshua Spivak: “Barrett’s move allows us to revisit a perhaps surprising point about recalls — they are rarely a rematch.”

 

Romney Seeks to End GOP Race Early

Mitt Romney “is preparing a broad strategy after Iowa’s caucuses tonight, apparently hoping to close out the GOP presidential contest before the calendar turns to February,”The Fix reports.

The Washington Post reports Romney “will head to South Carolina later this week, a sign he is prepared to fight in a state that has been less than hospitable to him since 2008. And a GOP source tells The Fix that Romney’s campaign is going up with an ad buy in Florida starting tomorrow. (New Hampshire is set to hold a primary on Jan. 10 followed by South Carolina on Jan. 21 and Florida on Jan. 31.)”

 

Perry Compares Beating Obama to Defeating the Nazis

Rick Perry compared the GOP’s efforts to defeat President Obama “to one of the deadliest battles of the D-Day landings in Normandy in 1944,” NBC News reports.

Said Perry: “This election is about stopping a president of the United States and his administration that is abusing the Constitution of this country, that is putting America on a track to bankruptcy. It is a powerful moment in Americans’ history, and you are on the front lines. This is Concord. This is Omaha Beach. This is going up the hill realizing that the battle is worth winning.”

 

The White Working Class Needs a Champion

David Brooks: “The Republican Party is the party of the white working class. This group — whites with high school degrees and maybe some college — is still the largest block in the electorate. They overwhelmingly favor Republicans… The Republicans harvest their votes but have done a poor job responding to their needs. The leading lights of the party tend to be former College Republicans who have a more individualistic and even Randian worldview than most members of the working class… Enter Rick Santorum.”

“It’s hard to know how his campaign will fare after a late surge that he is experiencing in Iowa… But I suspect he will do better post-Iowa than most people think — before being buried under a wave of money and negative ads. And I do believe that he represents sensibility and a viewpoint that is being suppressed by the political system. Perhaps, in less rigid and ideological form, this working-class experience will someday find a champion… The country doesn’t want an election that is Harvard Law versus Harvard Law.”

 

Romney Still Untested

The AP looks at the implications of Mitt Romney’s “surprisingly easy rise to the top of Iowa presidential polls.”

“Romney has run a smart, nearly mistake-free campaign so far. But his string of luck and efficiency might have a dark lining. He hasn’t been forced to hone incisive answers to tough questions certain to rise in debates if he faces only one or two remaining GOP opponents, or Obama.”

Holly Bailey: “Mitt Romney has long been considered the front-runner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, but if he wins Iowa’s caucuses on Tuesday, it will be partly because of one extraordinary fact: Not one of his Republican rivals ran a negative TV ad against him in the state.”

 

A Meaningless Sideshow?

Matt Taibbi says the 2012 presidential race has lost its “elemental appeal” and “may be the most meaningless national election campaign we’ve ever had.”

“In the wake of the Tea Party, the Occupy movement, and a dozen or more episodes of real rebellion on the streets, in the legislatures of cities and towns, and in state and federal courthouses, this presidential race now feels like a banal bureaucratic sideshow to the real event — the real event being a looming confrontation between huge masses of disaffected citizens on both sides of the aisle, and a corrupt and increasingly ideologically bankrupt political establishment, represented in large part by the two parties dominating this race.”

 

Why Romney Isn’t Lying

Rick Hasen: “I have no inside information on any communications between Mr. Romney and supportive super PACs. But Mr. Romney seems like a very intelligent and cautious person. If he had any communications with the Super PACs, he could be in very serious legal trouble — not to mention that the political fallout from a potential criminal violation of campaign finance laws would be enormous.”

“It is irresponsible for Mr. Gingrich to accuse Mr. Romney of lying without a shred of evidence. The crime here is not that Romney is coordinating. It is the system of super PACs which threatens the integrity of our legislative and electoral process.”

 

Political Candy

George Packer: “I’m as interested as anyone in who will win, place, and show in Iowa; and whether Santorum’s surge can last or he’ll go the way of Bachmann, Perry, Cain, and Gingrich; and whether South Carolina will be Gingrich’s firewall or his grave; and whether Romney will wrap it up in Florida or find himself in a trench war with one or two surviving conservatives; and whether Ron Paul can hold on till Tampa and make the convention interesting… This is what makes campaigns fun. No one can accuse the Republicans of failing to deliver in the departments of horse race and spectacle, and I’m with Ryan Lizza — I want it to last longer.”

“But political journalism — unlike war reporting — long ago stopped being about what is true or important. Sometime in the nineteen-eighties, reporters began covering politics like sports and entertainment. How many times and ways can you say that the Republican Party has descended into unreality and extremism before you lose your viewers and readers? On the other hand, there’s an endless appetite for stories about Santorum’s effort to reach out beyond his evangelical base, or Gingrich playing the expectations game in Iowa. This stuff is political candy.”

 

Romney Top Beneficiary of Super PACs

Twelve Super PACs spent $12.9 million in Iowa and other early GOP battleground states through New Year’s Day, according to iWatch News.

The top beneficiary was Mitt Romney, who saw $4.6 million was spent on his behalf, the vast majority for ads targeting Newt Gingrich. Second was Rick Perry, who benefited from $3.7 million in outside spending.

Most interesting: Ten of the 12 Super PACS have not yet reported their donors. The two that have did so last summer.

 

Polls Point to Romney Win

Mark Blumenthal breaks down the latest polling which suggests Mitt Romney will win the Iowa caucuses tonight.

“Yes, the recent surge of support for Rick Santorum is real and could conceivably produce a surprise result Tuesday night. It is also possible that Ron Paul could pull off an upset, particularly if polls have been under-sampling his supporters. But for now, the best evidence available says that Romney is ahead in Iowa and is likely to stay ahead once all the votes are counted.”

Nate Silver forecasts a 42% chance of a Romney win, a 34% chance for Paul and a 20% chance for Santorum.

Harry Enten: “Now, something may go horribly wrong. It’s still tight, and polls have gotten primary/caucus results wrong before. But when Mitt Romney says “We’re going to win this thing”, I gotta say the numbers agree with him.”

 

Obama Pollster Declares Obama the Winner

President Obama’s top pollster, Joel Benenson, tells BuzzFeed that the Republican party’s “self-inflicted wounds” will continue to haunt their nominee through 2012.

Said Benenson: “The reality is that there’s a lot less enthusiasm for this field than people may have touted. This is a field where every candidate comes with significant flaws in terms of the general election, in terms of their economic values, in terms of their extreme positions, in terms being under the influence of the Tea Party.”

Benenson also predicted a long primary, in which Mitt Romney is forced to campaign through the Spring.

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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