POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES -1/6
KCCI-TV reports that a typographical error may have awarded Mitt Romney an 20 additional votes in the Iowa caucus final vote tally.
Edward True said “he helped count the votes and jotted the results down on a piece of paper to post to his Facebook page. He said when he checked to make sure the Republican Party of Iowa got the count right, he said he was shocked to find they hadn’t.”
Official results had Romney winning by just eight votes, so if the error is confirmed Rick Santorum may have been the true winner.
Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign raised $2 million in the last 48 hours, ABC Newsreports.
As a result, the campaign is already making a “major” ad buy in South Carolina ahead of the state’s January 21 primary.
BuzzFeed reports a New Hampshire crowd booed Rick Santorum when he compared gay marriage to polygamy.
In an interview on CNN, Rick Santorum tried to distance himself from comments he made 9 years ago which most took as equating homosexuality with bestiality and pedophilia.
Santorum to the AP in 2003: “In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing.”
Santorum, yesterday: “I didn’t connect them. I excluded them.”
Dan Amira: “Why the flimsy excuse? Why not just own it? Because since 2003, when Santorum made the comments, acceptance of gay rights and gay marriage has soared. Santorum hopes to become a viable, mainstream candidate, but his past remarks on homosexuality — not just opposition to gay marriage, but disparagement of gays in general — are no longer part of the mainstream. Best to just pretend they never happened.”
A new Rasmussen survey taken the night after the Iowa caucuses, shows Mitt Romney again in first place nationally among Republican voters with 29%, followed by Rick Santorum at 21%.
Santorum also broke into double-digits in the Gallup tracking poll.
If he can gain enough momentum to finish second in New Hampshire, it will be real.
Richard Winger: “The District of Columbia Republican presidential primary rules gives candidates a choice of either paying a $10,000 filing fee to the party, or else getting 296 signatures of registered Republicans and paying a fee of $5,000 to the party… Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Rick Perry all chose the $10,000 filing fee so as to avoid collecting signatures. The only Republicans who chose the $5,000 filing fee plus the signatures are Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney. Rick Santorum will not be on the ballot.”
Andrew Sullivan: “We’ve been so used to the weirdness of the island of misfit toys that is the GOP primary season that we may have missed the real story: the weirdest man in the whole race might actually be … the one not supposed to be weird.”
Joshua Spivak notes that presidents who are re-elected almost always improve on their original election results.
“Twenty-four presidents have sought and received their party’s nomination for re-election; 15 of them won. Of those 15, only one — Woodrow Wilson — received fewer electoral votes in his re-election campaign and still managed to win re-election. And only Andrew Jackson may have received a smaller percentage of the popular vote in his re-election campaign — although, back when Jackson was re-elected, not all states counted popular votes, so it’s hard to say for sure.”
Jacob Weisberg: “Anything could happen, of course, but it won’t. In the end, the GOP is overwhelmingly likely to nominate Romney because he is the most electable candidate available and at this point, no one else can beat him.”
Felix Salmon notes there’s roughly a one-in-four chance that Rick Santorum actually beat Mitt Romney in Iowa.
“Romney’s margin of victory was 8 votes out of 122,255 cast, or 0.0065%. If you look at a number of recent recounts — Florida Presidential 2000, Ohio Presidential 2004, Washington Gubernatorial 2004, and four recounted Minnesota races in 2008 — the initial error margin in all but Ohio and one of the Minnesota races was greater than that. The Washington race underwent two different recounts, checking for different errors; one of them, and the sum of the two together, exceeded Romney’s victory percentage. The difference between the Florida election night vote count and just the 537 vote certified Bush margin is more than three-and-a-half times Romney’s winning percentage.”
Bottom line: “Santorum didn’t win in Iowa: he came second… But if you just counted the exact same votes all over again, there’s a good chance the result would be different, and Santorum would end up being declared the winner instead.”
Sarah Palin has agreed to be the keynote speaker at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in February, an event which she has consistently snubbed over the past four years, ABC News reports.
The decision to accept the top spot at the conference may be a sign that Palin recognizes the need to refresh her political clout ahead of the 2012 elections.
Nate Silver believes that Rick Perry’s decision to remain in the race for the Republican presidential nomination is a sign that Perry may have a viable path forward, or at least thinks he has one.
“Mr. Perry’s polling in South Carolina has not been good recently. But if you need only 20 percent of the vote to lead the field there, or if the number of undecideds or weakly committed voters remains high, you would not need all that much momentum to contend… I would not assign high odds to Mr. Perry making a comeback — much less actually winning the nomination. And there is reason to be skeptical of the idea that conservative elites would throw their support to Mr. Perry now when it would have been more advantageous for them to do so before Iowa. Nevertheless, Mr. Perry does have some relatively unique strengths as a candidate, at least in comparison to this year’s Republican field, and sometimes optimal decision-making is clouded by the fog of war that accompanies the Iowa caucuses.”
The first post-Iowa Suffolk University poll in New Hampshire shows Mitt Romney with a huge lead at 41%, followed by Ron Paul at 18%, Rick Santorum at 8%, Newt Gingrich at 7%, Jon Huntsman at 7% and Rick Perry at 1%.
Said pollster David Paleologos: “This is the first full day that voters had the opportunity to digest the final results of the Iowa caucuses. The result is that the same three winners in Iowa are the top three contenders in New Hampshire.”
Joseph P. Kennedy III (D) “is taking the final steps to launch a run for Congress this year, hoping to succeed Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) who chose to retire rather than run in his reconfigured district,” the Boston Globe reports.
“Kennedy is opening an exploratory committee for the seat, a legal step that will allow him to raise money immediately… Kennedy is scheduled to meet this afternoon with his current boss… to inform him he will be leaving his prosecutor’s job to become a political candidate.”
Massimo Calabresi notes that while Mitt Romney’s campaign strategy is to “use a dominating win in New Hampshire to cast weak victories in Iowa and South Carolina as a sign of Romney’s inevitable nomination,” his public comments have taken a much more reserved tone.
“The last element to the Romney strategy for victory by the end of January is to talk as if a win is unlikely, even as he tries to project inevitability. The early voters of New Hampshire and South Carolina hate being taken for granted, so those around Romney are declaring they’re hunkering down for the long term, well past Florida.”
Mitt Romney’s first event in New Hampshire the morning after Iowa caucus win “offered a rude awakening,” the Huffington Post reports.
“Three of the first four questioners were openly hostile to Romney, although one of them was an Occupy Manchester activist. And even the endorsement and appearance of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) failed to arouse much of a reaction from the Granite Staters in attendance… the tone of the event was a sharp break from the joyful mood that had accompanied the former Massachusetts governor onto a charter plane from Iowa earlier that morning, along with a swarm of press befitting a presidential frontrunner.”
Dana Millbank: “This undoubtedly was not the victory lap the campaign had in mind.”
Roger Simon: “For Mitt Romney, it was the event from hell. Or from heck, since Mitt Romney does not use words like hell. Or any of the other bad words that any other candidate might have used after this event on the day following his narrow victory in the Iowa caucuses.”
“I think that if not this election cycle, the demographics are that Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, even Texas will all be in play.”
— Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), quoted by NBC News, adding, “We have to fix our problems with the Hispanics.”
First Read: “Unlike past presidential-primary front-runners, Mitt Romney has enjoyed this advantage over the past year: His GOP rivals have largely attacked each other, and have left him alone. Just last week in the lead up to Iowa, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann were blasting Rick Santorum; Perry also went after Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Santorum for their previous service in Congress; and Jon Huntsman hit Paul over those racially charged newsletters — all leaving Romney unscathed… But after Romney’s narrow win in Iowa, and now that Gingrich is looking for revenge, Romney has now become the target of attacks for the first time this campaign season. In fact, the Gingrich camp is now up with this TV ad hitting Romney in New Hampshire and South Carolina. The question becomes: How does Romney handle it?”
Karl Rove: “If a year ago you said that Mitt Romney would win Iowa, be heading to New Hampshire with a large lead, and his chief opponent would be a former senator who lost his re-election race in a swing state by 18 points, you would have had to believe Mr. Romney would be on his way to winning the GOP nomination. And you know what? Now we’ll see if it plays out that way.”
Meanwhile, Politico notes, “Because of the divided nature of the opposition and Romney’s organizational and financial advantages, GOP elites made the case Wednesday that there was no clear way he could be stopped.”
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