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Archive for Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mitt Romney wins New Hampshire primary; Ron Paul runs second

January 10, 2012, 7:43 p.m. Updated January 11, 2012, 12:03 a.m.

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— Mitt Romney cruised to a solid victory in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night, picking up steam from his first-place finish in the lead-off Iowa caucuses and firmly establishing himself as the man to beat for the Republican presidential nomination.

“Tonight we made history,” Romney told cheering supporters before pivoting to a stinging denunciation of President Barack Obama. “The middle class has been crushed ... our debt is too high and our opportunities too few,” he declared — ignoring the rivals who had been assailing him for weeks and making clear he intends to be viewed as the party’s nominee in waiting after only two contests.

His Republican rivals said otherwise, looking ahead to South Carolina on Jan. 21 as the place to stop the former Massachusetts governor. Already, several contenders and committees supporting them had put down heavy money to reserve time for television advertising there.

Even so, the order of finish — Ron Paul second, followed by Jon Huntsman, with Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum trailing — scrambled the field and prolonged the increasingly desperate competition to emerge as the true conservative rival to Romney.

With his victory, Romney became the first Republican to sweep the first two contests in competitive races since 1976. Based on partial returns, The Associated Press estimated that turnout would exceed the 2008 record by about 4 percent.

Romney fashioned his victory despite a sustained assault by rivals eager to undermine his claim as the contender best situated to beat Obama and help reduce the nation’s painfully high unemployment. Gingrich led the way, suggesting at one point that Romney, a venture capitalist, was a corporate raider. The front-runner’s defenders said the rhetoric was more suitable to a Democratic opponent than a conservative Republican.

Returns from 69 percent of New Hampshire precincts showed Romney with 38 percent of the vote, followed by Texas Rep Paul with 24 percent, former Utah Gov. Huntsman with 17 percent and former House Speaker Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Santorum with 10 percent each.

In interviews as they left their polling places, New Hampshire voters said the economy was the issue that mattered most to them, and a candidate’s ability to defeat Obama outranked other qualities.

Romney had won in Iowa by a scant eight votes over Santorum, and gained barely a quarter of the vote there.

On Tuesday, he battled not only his rivals but also high expectations as the ballots were counted, particularly since his pursuers had virtually conceded New Hampshire, next-door to the state Romney governed for four years.

Seeking to undercut Romney’s victory, Gingrich and others suggested in advance that anything below 40 percent or so would indicate weakness by the nomination front-runner.

They didn’t mention that Sen. John McCain’s winning percentage in the 2008 primary was 37 percent.

Romney’s win was worth seven delegates to the Republican National Convention next summer. Paul earned three delegates and Huntsman two.

“Tonight we celebrate,” Romney told his supporters. “Tomorrow we go back to work.”

Unlike Iowa and New Hampshire, where unemployment is well below the national average, joblessness is far higher in South Carolina. That creates a different political environment for the race.

The state also has a reputation for primaries turning nasty, and it appeared that all of Romney’s pursuers read the new Hampshire returns as reason enough to remain in the race.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who skipped New Hampshire to get a head start in South Carolina, said Tuesday’s results showed “the race for a conservative alternative to Mitt Romney remains wide open.”

“We’re nibbling at his heels,” Paul said of Romney.

Huntsman had staked his candidacy on a strong showing in New Hampshire, and he announced after the polls closed that he had passed his own test. “Where we stand is a solid position and we go south from here,” he said.

Despite struggling to gain 10 percent in New Hampshire, Gingrich and Santorum also said they were in.

About one-third of Republican voters interviewed as they left their polling places said the most important factor in choosing a candidate was finding someone who could defeat Obama in the fall. Romney won their support overwhelmingly.

He ran about even with Huntsman among the one-quarter of the voters who cited experience as the most important factor in selecting a candidate to support.

Paul ran first among voters who cited moral character or true conservatism.

As was the case last week in Iowa, the economy was the issue that mattered most to voters, 61 percent of those surveyed. Another 24 percent cited record federal deficits.

Romney carried the first group and split the second with Paul.

The survey results came from interviews conducted for The Associated Press and the television networks with 2,670 voters across the state. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

New Hampshire has a rich history of humbling favorites, front-runners and even an occasional incumbent.

The state’s Republican voters embarrassed President George H.W. Bush in 1992, when he won but was held to 53 percent of the vote against Pat Buchanan, running as an insurgent in difficult economic times. Buchanan, who never held public office, won the primary four years later over Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas, who was the nominee in the fall.

In 2000, national front-runner George W. Bush rolled into the state after a convincing first-place finish in Iowa but wound up a distant second behind McCain. Bush later won the GOP nomination and then the presidency.

Twelve Republican National Convention delegates were at stake on Tuesday, out of 1,144 needed to win the nomination.

Obama was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

In his first presidential run in 2008, Romney finished second in the state to McCain. This time, he campaigned with the Arizona senator’s endorsement, as well as backing from Sen. Kelly Ayotte and numerous other members of the state’s Republican establishment.

Romney committed a pair of unforced errors in the campaign’s final 48 hours, and the other contenders sought to capitalize.

On Sunday, after a pair of weekend debates only 12 hours apart, the millionaire former businessman said he understood the fear of being laid off. “There were a couple of times when I was worried I was going to get pink-slipped,” he said, although neither he nor his aides offered specifics.

And on Monday, in an appearance before the Nashua Chamber of Commerce, Romney was discussing health insurance coverage when he said, “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. If someone doesn’t give me the good service I need, I’m going to go get somebody else to provide that service to me.”

Huntsman, a former Utah governor, saw an opening. “Gov. Romney enjoys firing people. I enjoy creating jobs,” he said.

And Gingrich said Bain Capital, the venture capital firm Romney once headed, “apparently looted the companies, left people totally unemployed and walked off with millions of dollars.”

Romney has made his business experience a cornerstone of his presidential campaign, saying that Bain on balance created 100,000 jobs, and as a result, he understands how to help boost employment.

He sought to shrug off the attacks, saying he had expected them from Obama in the fall, but Gingrich and others had decided to go first. “Things can always be taken out of context,” he said.

Comments

Neomarxist123 2 years, 11 months ago

Look for the mainstream media to start focusing their guns on Romney. Should be a fun ride.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 11 months ago

Nah-- the mainstream media is fine with a status quo candidate like Romney.

Paul, however, is about to be taken out at the knees.

jaywalker 2 years, 11 months ago

Every once in a while an exceptionally weak hitter knocks one out of the park.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 11 months ago

Boy, you can't just make a comment, can you. You gotta go for a three-stooges poke in the eye.

Alexander Smith 2 years, 11 months ago

How is it a sociaist nightmare? Why do right wing people make socialism sound so bad? If you read your text books, socialism is when the governement has controlling interest in the functions that affect the stability of country. There is still free market but it is more controlled to help prevent abuse that we saw with the bailiouts of the banks and big industry. The GOP automatically makes it equal communism which it is not. Also, if you actually look past your blinders, free market is failing us horribly. The economic stability of the USA has been dropping WAYY before Obama came into play. Another point to counter your statement is that the top 15 most economic stable countries in the world ARE socialistic governed countries. We will continue to fall untill we bring back production to the United States. However, free market is failing us because the end person that benefits is NOT you and me, its the stock holders. Business report to those who invest. The Investors DO NOT care (in general) about the people of the USA,,, the care about their return on their stock. Companies keep finding more and more ways to save money so they can have this constant increase which pushes jobs overseas, puts more people out of jobs, closures of plants and other facilites to save money. The number of good paying jobs is decreasing. The GOP does not see this. Anyway, a friend brought up a good point who came from another country. "As long as USA business focus on the constant need for more profit while not being statisfied with the profit they have and working with it, and the USA citizen continues to demand more for less and continue to find way NOT to work hard for what they get... the USA is going to collapse" I agree with this. We are very greedy people, young people coming into the work force are demanding more money but NOT willing to work for it. One final point, there is little socialism going on in the country right now.

blindrabbit 2 years, 11 months ago

Darn, I was hoping the results would have been closer, lumping them all together. Was wanting the GOP circus to continue. Now that Bachmann and The Pizza Man have departed the group of clowns has shrunk; oh well, we still have Perry, Sanitarium and Newt to supply the entertainment.

hyperinflate 2 years, 11 months ago

Wow, Romney just continues to project d*#ktitude, the likes of which I have never seen. It's just hard to see how this gets the rather unmotivated voter to the polls come November.

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

By the time this is all said and done, it will be interesting to see what bloody stump of a candidate comes crawling forward to claim victory. Will it be "fire 'em" Mitt, or "Fanny&Freddie" Newt? It isn't going to be Santorum, Paul or Perry, for obvious reasons. Huntsman could pull it out if Romney has a big slip, meaning something beyond just saying he likes to fire people.

But I still think it will be Romney. He would be better that at least four of the others. However, Obama will beat him in a general election, and by a larger margin (but fewer total votes) than he beat McCain.

notaubermime 2 years, 11 months ago

Romney never said that he likes to fire people. He said that he likes to have the ability to fire people who are not providing satisfactory services. He is talking about having options and being able to make a choice. Aren't you pro-choice? Why do you hate America?

In other news, beatrice endorsed campaign violence today when she said that "Obama will beat" Romney to a "bloody stump." For shame!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 11 months ago

Do you really believe that there will ever be anything like a choice when it comes to buying insurance from an industry whose sole purpose is to generate profits, not healthcare? An industry that has produced the most expensive healthcare in the world, but still excludes 1/4 of the population from access to healthcare?

Richard Heckler 2 years, 11 months ago

Think unconventional yet very very smart:

Ron Paul vs Ralph Nader

They have 2 -3 major issues in common.

Time to shake up the system!

Bob Forer 2 years, 11 months ago

No surprises here, but lets hope the full three ring circus remains intact for a while, the better to bloody up Romney a bit before the big show against Obama. Obama's first three years have been a huge disappointment, but come on folks, do you really think I'd vote for any of these laughers. For me, the general election will be like choosing the lesser poison, but when faced with five lashes from a hickory stick versus five minutes hanging from a hickory tree, pain trumps permanence every time.

Matthew Herbert 2 years, 11 months ago

Glad to see Huntsman getting more respect; he is one of the strongest presidential candidates I've seen in the last 20 years.

tolawdjk 2 years, 11 months ago

A few thoughts.

Was third enough for Huntsman? Many were projecting him second. Either way, does he have enough of a warchest to continue? Romney going on is a given. Santorum has to like his odds better in SC. Gingrich has plenty of SuperPAC money and has already bought huge into ads in SC. This will just add fuel to Paul's base's fire.

But does third actual give Huntsman enough to go on? Is this placing phyric and is he relegated to a Trival Pursuit answer?

riverdrifter 2 years, 11 months ago

Huntsman is the only -wait, Kate Beckinsale on Letterman. Overnout.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 11 months ago

Huntsman is at least sane, but he's still a candidate of the (Wall Street) status quo.

Bob Forer 2 years, 11 months ago

they are all candidates of the Wall Street status quo, democratic and republican alike.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 11 months ago

Ron Paul is definitely not consciously the candidate of Wall Street. But his extreme laissez faire economic policies would almost certainly lead to extremely favorable conditions for the .01% (and Wall Street) to accelerate the race to the bottom for the 99%, and increase their already considerable wealth and power.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 11 months ago

Paul is certainly right that the Fed is primarily a tool of Wall Street and the banks.

But his laissez faire recipe would not just eliminate the Fed-- it remove all restraints from Wall Street and their banks, after which we'd look back on the days of the Fed with nostalgia.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 11 months ago

Under the conditions Paul would see instituted, eventually, there would be no market. The banks would own everything.

kristeniswright87 2 years, 11 months ago

I really like Romney. Paul on the other hand is the one to fear.

Bob Forer 2 years, 11 months ago

I really like ron Paul because he is the only candidates with two first names, Ron and Paul.

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

While Mitt Romney has no first name, neither Mitt nor Romney.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 11 months ago

That's absurd. Obama is a disappointment to the 99%, but he at least has to throw them a few bones here and there. Romney and the Republicans would be wholly unrestrained in expressing their disdain for all but the .01%.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 11 months ago

I'm all for letting markets do what they do best, but there is no miracle in markets, no matter how badly you want to believe it when Ron whispers those sweet nothings in your ear.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

We need a third option.

A market that works the way it's supposed to work, and a government that works the way it's supposed to work as well.

That would include making sure that the conditions for a free market actually exist.

ConcernedAmerican 2 years, 11 months ago

The big news tonight is after all the money and all is said and done, Mitt Romney gained a whopping 3% more votes than he got 4 years ago in 2008. Ron Paul recorded nearly a 400% increase in his strong second place showing tonight. His message is out there, it will not be stopped, the GOP and MSM are messing in their pants and it will come down to a two man race. Mitt, the inconsistent flip-flopper, who blows with the wind and says what he thinks the people want to hear and give them the feel good sound bites that the future is bright; or Dr. Paul, a man who has stuck to his constitutional philosophy and principles for over 30 years, a man who is incorruptible, a man who will get us out of these illegal and undeclared wars. See you at the Kansas Caucus.

tolawdjk 2 years, 11 months ago

Don't understand this at all. Are the Republicans running against the 2008 field?

Is this some kind of "Restore America" where victory is compaired to how you preformed 4 years ago?

Second is still the first loser.

Steve Jacob 2 years, 11 months ago

The Republicans have to get Newt out of the race fast. He is the one person throwing the party under the bus with his ripping on Romney.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 11 months ago

A Paul vs. Nader contest would certainly be entertaining. The Ronulans and the Naderites would be trying to see who could generate the most whack-a-doodle vibes.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 11 months ago

I got a question for the correspondants here. We have all become insulated to the slings and arrows from right wing nuts exclaiming "Liberal, Liberal, Liberal!!!!!! As if it means anything.

When did they add "moderate" to their bilious rantings? I now hear the ccollege of clowns running for the tea bag ticket screaming "moderate, moderate, moderate"

Where did this come from? I once heard Rush Limpballs use it, but prety much disassociated this with any sense of reality since that personage is the very image of the facist radical right. (now there is a list of epithets!!!)

When did being moderate become a political slur??

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

Well, Grover Norquist has made it his mission for some years now to transform the Republican party into a party of conservatives.

He's done this by putting time, energy and money into opposing moderate Republican candidates and replacing them with conservative ones.

It seems to have been quite successful, unfortnately.

BigAl 2 years, 11 months ago

I am wondering if Ron Paul will mount a 3rd party candidate race in the General Election?

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

Do you mean all those people who ended up keeping their jobs instead of allowing a major portion of the American auto industry to fold? Those people who are still working thanks to the loans approved by the President? Those same people Mitt Romney said he wouldn't have helped out, even though the company is now turning a profit? Are those the American workers you are talking about?

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