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Archive for Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gingrich wins South Carolina primary

January 21, 2012, 6:42 p.m. Updated January 21, 2012, 10:52 p.m.

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— Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich stormed to an upset victory in the South Carolina primary Saturday night, dealing a sharp setback to former front-runner Mitt Romney and abruptly scrambling the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

In victory, Gingrich praised his Republican rivals and attacked President Barack Obama and “elites in New York and Washington.”

Obama is “the most effective food stamp president in history,” he said. “I would like to be the best paycheck president in American history.” Those declarations and his attack on the “elite news media” reprised two of his more memorable lines from a pair of debates that helped fuel his victory.

Exit polls showed he led among voters who said their top priority was picking a candidate who could beat Obama — a group that had preferred Romney in earlier contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Romney, the national front-runner until now, was unbowed. He vowed to contest for every vote “in every state,” an acknowledgement that the race would likely be a long one. He also unleashed a double-barreled attack on Obama and Gingrich.

Referring to Gingrich’s criticism of his business experience, Romney said, “When my opponents attack success and free enterprise, they’re not only attacking me, they’re attacking every person who dreams of a better future. He’s attacking you,” he told supporters, the closest he came to mentioning the primary winner’s name.

Returns from 95 percent of the state’s precincts showed Gingrich with 41 percent of the vote to 27 percent for Romney. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was winning 17 percent, Texas Rep. Ron Paul 13 percent.

As the first Southern primary, South Carolina has been a proving ground for Republican presidential hopefuls in recent years. Since Ronald Reagan in 1980, every Republican contender who won the primary has gone on to capture the party’s nomination.

Nearly 600,000 voters turned out, according to an AP estimate. That eclipses the previous record turnout for the primary in 2000, when George W. Bush defeated John McCain

Based on the vote total, Gingrich won at least 15 of the 25 Republican National Convention delegates at stake and none of the other contenders was yet assured of any.

But political momentum was the real prize with the race to pick an opponent to Obama still in its early stages.

Already, Romney and a group that supports him were on the air in Florida with a significant television ad campaign, more than $7 million combined to date.

Gingrich readily conceded that he trails in money, and even before appearing for his victory speech he tweeted supporters thanking them and appealing for a flood of donations for the Jan. 31 primary. “Help me deliver the knockout punch in Florida. Join our Moneybomb and donate now,” said his tweet.

Aides to the former Massachusetts governor had once dared hope that Florida would seal his nomination — if South Carolina didn’t first — but that strategy appeared to vanish along with the once-formidable lead he held in pre-primary polls.

Romney swept into South Carolina 11 days ago as the favorite after being pronounced the winner of the lead-off Iowa caucuses, then cruising to victory in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary.

But in the sometimes-surreal week that followed, he was stripped of his Iowa triumph — GOP officials there now say Santorum narrowly won — while former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman dropped out and endorsed Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry quit and backed Gingrich.

Romney responded awkwardly to questions about releasing his income tax returns, and about his investments in the Cayman Islands. Gingrich, the former speaker of the House, benefited from two well-received debate performances while grappling with allegations by an ex-wife that he had once asked her for an open marriage so he could keep his mistress.

By primary eve, Romney was speculating openly about a lengthy battle for the nomination rather than the quick knockout that had seemed within his grasp only days earlier.

Exit polling showed Gingrich, the former House speaker, leading by a wide margin among the state’s heavy population of conservatives, tea party supporters and born-again Christians.

In a state with 9.9 percent unemployment, about 80 percent of all voters said they were very worried about the direction of the economy. Gingrich’s edge over Romney among that group tracked the overall totals closely, the former speaker winning 42 percent and the runner-up 28.

The exit poll was conducted for The Associated Press and the television networks by Edison Research as voters left polls at 35 randomly selected sites. The survey involved interviews with 2,381 voters and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Santorum vowed to continue, although his weak third place finish could well portend financial difficulty for a campaign that has never been flush with cash. It’s a wide-open race. Join the fight” he urged supporters at a rally in Charleston.

Paul had his worst finish of the year, and isn’t expected to make a strong effort in Florida. Even so, he said to supporters, “Keep fighting.” He has said he intends to focus his efforts on caucus contests in Nevada on Feb. 4 and Missouri several days later.

Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, pinned his South Carolina hopes on a heavy turnout in parts of the state with large concentrations of social conservatives, the voters who carried him to his surprisingly strong showing in Iowa.

Paul had a modest campaign presence here after finishing third in Iowa and second in New Hampshire. His call to withdraw U.S. troops from around the world was a tough sell in a state dotted with military installations and home to many veterans.

Romney’s stumbles began even before his New Hampshire primary victory, when he told one audience that he had worried earlier in his career about the possibility of being laid off.

He gave a somewhat rambling, noncommittal response in a debate in Myrtle Beach last Monday when asked if he would release his tax returns before the primary. The following day, he told reporters that because most of his earnings come from investments, he paid about 15 percent of his income in taxes, roughly half the rate paid by millions of middle-class wage-earners. A day later, aides confirmed that some of his millions are invested in the Cayman Islands, although they said he did not use the offshore accounts as a tax haven.

Asked again at a debate in North Charleston on Thursday about releasing his taxes, his answer was anything but succinct and the audience appeared to boo.

Gingrich benefited from a shift in strategy that recalled his approach when he briefly soared to the top of the polls in Iowa. At mid-week he began airing a television commercial that dropped all references to Romney and his other rivals, and contended that he was the only Republican who could defeat Obama.

It featured several seconds from the first debate in which the audience cheered as he accused Obama of having put more Americans on food stamps than any other president.

Nor did Gingrich flinch when ex-wife Marianne said in an interview on ABC that he had been unfaithful for years before their divorce in 1999, and asked him for an open marriage.

Asked about the accusation in the opening moments of the second debate of the week, he unleashed an attack on ABC and debate host CNN and accused the “liberal news media” of trying to help Obama by attacking Republicans. His ex-wife’s account, he said, was untrue.

Comments

rockchalker52 2 years, 11 months ago

As South Carolina goes, so goes the ... what? the country? mmm, prolly not.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 11 months ago

So, the choice between Romney and Gingrich was between bad and worse, and they chose worse. That's encouraging.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 11 months ago

About as bad as the choice between Democrat or Republican come November.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 11 months ago

Democrats, unfortunately, also pledge fealty to the real owners of our government, Wall Street and other manifestations of corporate power.

But as disappointing as that makes Obama's performance over the last three years, he's still a much better choice than either Romney or Gingrich.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 11 months ago

Given the filibuster and other ways that any and all action can be blocked in the Senate, it's already a divided White House and Congress. Why else do you think that the official Republican policy of pure obstructionism has been so successful?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 11 months ago

Why, yes, political gridlock is the best we can hope for. We don't have any serious problems that need dealing with. The best we can hope for is to acknowledge that we don't have any problems that allowing Wall Street to suck up even more control over the economy can't solve.

You're absolutely brilliant.

George_Braziller 2 years, 11 months ago

I really doubt that the "born-again Christians" voted for him. I think the three marriages and multiple extra-marital affairs probably had something to do with it.

JackMcKee 2 years, 11 months ago

I have been told that Newt is a master debater

jhawkinsf 2 years, 11 months ago

95% of us are master debaters. The other 5% are lying.

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

Do the people of South Carolina know the difference between philanthropy and philandering?

Steve Jacob 2 years, 11 months ago

The fun really begins now. Curious if Rick Santorum quits, I know Palin is pushing it. You know Paul will never quit. Seriously, does Newt have a better chance to beat Obama then Mitt? I don't think even the Republicans know who is the better match-up.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 11 months ago

Wow, I thought I was the only one that was looking on all this and suffering despair. These Republicans are a comedy company far better than any network script writer can conjur up. The thought of any of these clowns with their finger on the button would terrify me. And since most of them mostly have their religious fantisies about gay marriage and abortion to flail about with, I seriously doubt that anyof them will last for very long.

But what really frosts me is CNN, the insipid news manufacturing consortium with all their polls, "experts", thesis", and other advertising-attracting plots. I have been watching that orgy for a few hours (God only knows why, there are a lot of other interesting programs on C-Span, the food channel, the universe chanel, the dirty jobs channel etc.) and that circus is almost as wretching as listening to Ron Paul and his attacks on almost everything.

Geez, are we stuck with this drivel for 9 more months??? Arrrrggghhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

verity 2 years, 11 months ago

Seems to be something we can all agree on.

David Lignell 2 years, 11 months ago

The Newt is a front runner! Never has this life-long Democrat seen a better "standard-bearer of hypocrisy" in a pool of Republican front runners, and that’s saying a lot. Please, oh please, throw all of your funds and support behind this beacon of marital fidelity!

Steve Jacob 2 years, 11 months ago

Romney wins Florida, so he is still the front runner. Cash rules that state, and Gingrich and Santorum have spent nothing there yet.

David Lignell 2 years, 11 months ago

Dang! Still, me preciousss...lovesss....Romney. Me remembers his Father from Michigan. (Big smile.) Romney please fight the Newt. One of you will win and all of us will celebrate ;-0

Steve Jacob 2 years, 11 months ago

I like on CNN.com saying Santorum's thinking Gingrich knocks out Romney, then Gingrich will knock himself out somehow.

I still assume Romney against Obama, but wonder if those conservatives that hate Romney now will vote for him in November?

Steve Jacob 2 years, 11 months ago

And word is Mitt will release his tax records soon. Ha ha!

headdoctor 2 years, 11 months ago

That would be America subdued and servant to the wants of the Republican Neo-Liberals.

Stuart Sweeney 2 years, 11 months ago

This is the man the party of the family wants to put forth as a leader and example for out youth!

pace 2 years, 11 months ago

Unhappily if newt takes the cake, all the rhubarb will be about sex and personal style.. We need serious discussions on economy, national security, jobs, homes. Newt's style is emotional one liners. The country deserves real discussion on issues.

Armstrong 2 years, 11 months ago

The country deserves real leadership. Hope and change was a costly failure.

pace 2 years, 11 months ago

I don't agree with you, I don't think the sexual history means much. I doubt Newt really had an affair.

pace 2 years, 11 months ago

Of course, President Obama has programs and policies of action, well thought out and effective. Compared to the failing empty headed, Tax cuts to the wealthiest will fix the jobs and foreclosures.

Fossick 2 years, 11 months ago

As much as I'm begging, nay dying for a Republican standard-bearer so I can vote for someone instead of against Obama this fall, it just ain't happening. "Anyone but Obama" is the call of the short-sighted fool - for "anyone but Gore" gave us Bush, hundreds of billions in unfunded liabilities and a financial death spiral from which we shall recover only after beet stew is voted the national dinner. Bush in his prime was worse than the last 2 years of Obama: in getting nothing done, Obama has been a model president. He's like Grover Cleveland with an annoying wife. And an annoying wife never doomed any nation but France. I knew Marie Antoinette, and Michele...

Gary Johnson is running for the Libertarian nod? Go, Governor Johnson! I never heard of you, but I have heard of Newt Gingrich.

David Lignell 2 years, 11 months ago

Please, Oh please be it the will of God that Newt is the candidate select. I agree with you in so many ways, BornAgain, only just not in the way you think. Go Newt! Go Newt! We love you and hate those prying news organizations and ex-wives, whatever thier nasty alments that cause us to leave them...oh so caring that New.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

Since he's admitted them, they're not just "allegations" any more.

It doesn't bother you that he likes to leave his wives when they get sick? I thought conservatives believed in upholding their marriage vows, including "in sickness and in health".

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

Ah.

Not sure why you'd think that, but, no, that's not what I meant.

Forgiveness and second chances appear to only apply for conservatives to other conservatives, and not liberals - is that how that works?

I don't recall Newt acknowledging responsibility by saying he was wrong to cheat on his wives and leave them when they got sick - did he do that?

Abdu Omar 2 years, 11 months ago

BAA, no man completely changes his color. Newt is still a philanderer and a liar. There is no other way to describe him. 90% of the Republican House of Reps threw his behind out of there. What does that tell you? He is a hypocrite and his tirade against John King was planned and executed like an actor, not as a presidential candidate. Whatever his former wife said is immaterial. What he has done is very important and the only material upon which to judge him. He is a loser and if he wins the nomination, God help us all.

Tomorrow, when the people of South Carolina think through what they have done, I believe there will be great remorse. They appauded him because they were sick of the media choosing our elected representatives. Let us look at the facts and judge from there.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

And Obama, who has repudiated his minister?

Does he get a "second look"?

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

Of course.

Only conservatives are granted the forgiveness and "second look" based on one simple act in the present.

That's kind of what I figured.

Mike Ford 2 years, 11 months ago

southerners support someone speaking in code language.....that's what this fiasco taught me....

deec 2 years, 11 months ago

Look on the bright side. It the newt becomes president, when he figures out how sick America is, he'll leave it for another country.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

Nice.

Laughed out loud at that one :-)

verity 2 years, 11 months ago

The only good thing about presidential campaigns is that it brings out the best lines.

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 11 months ago

Can you imagine this: http://malialitman.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/callista-gingrich.jpg as the FLOTUS? I'm trying to figure out if it's botox, plastic surgery (and I do mean "plastic") or if it's the drugs she's on. Or hey! Maybe she's a Stepford Wife! That would explain it!

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

That's a truly frightening picture - is she a real person?

Bob Forer 2 years, 11 months ago

She looks like something created in the McDonald's food science laboratory.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

I am equally appalled at Clinton's infidelities.

Are you at Gingrich's?

Seems to me like a particularly egregious thing to leave your wives when they get sick.

That's not a fact, it's an opinion.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 11 months ago

There is no shortage in history of brilliant men who were completely self-serving cads. Newt would like to add his name to that long list.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

There's nothing he said, she said about the fact that he married and divorced 2 wives, when they got sick, and was unfaithful to both of them before they divorced.

I haven't heard him speak much, but I haven't seen any evidence of his brilliance.

Maybe, if Marianne is in fact off, Newt made her that way.

That's an interesting way to put it - I'm not sure what you mean by "pride of the world" - I'd also like for us to be admired more than reviled, but I suspect that our ideas about how to achieve that are rather different.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

Thanks.

But, being respected for one's strength isn't the same thing as being reviled/hated.

We appear to be one of those regimes, in many cases, to me - that's a big problem.

In my view, we of course need to be strong enough to defend ourselves, but we also need to act more intelligently and less aggressively throughout the world.

We may not be able to eliminate all possible enemies, but we certainly could do a much better job at not creating them unnecessarily.

In my personal life, I will defend myself if I have to, but I also don't do a lot of things that make it likely I'll get into physical conflicts - I don't throw my weight around and try to dominate my neighbors, go to bars and get drunk and insult people, wander around downtown Lawrence in the middle of the night, etc.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 11 months ago

As John Stewart pointed out in a recent show, Newt is a real traditionalist.

It's been a tradition throughout history that powerful men have their mistresses, in addition to their trophy wives.

bad_dog 2 years, 11 months ago

Now all Newt needs is the "trophy wife".

bad_dog 2 years, 11 months ago

Looks more like the Madame Tussaud's version to me...

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 11 months ago

It's not, BD. That's an honest-to-god photo of Callista Gingrich.

bad_dog 2 years, 11 months ago

Well, they say God works in mysterious ways. If that's a trophy wife, then I'm sure puzzled. Perhaps it's the "third place" trophy?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 11 months ago

"Looks more like the Madame Tussaud's version to me..."

Yep-- a wax statue.

yourworstnightmare 2 years, 11 months ago

And we'll have fun fun fun until Romney takes the tea bag away!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 11 months ago

Newt doesn't really debate all that well. In the Republican debates, you don't really have to know how to debate. What you need to be able to do is throw out sneering, smarmy one-liners that the questioners are generally too cowed to follow up on-- and that's where Newt has a real talent.

Through a long campaign where he becomes the only focal point, Newt will look like a petulant teenager who isn't getting his way.

patkindle 2 years, 11 months ago

poor newt still has a face like a cabbage patch doll and if you want to know about his morals, just ask any of his ex wives

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

More than the wifes and adultery issues, I'd like to see a bit more attention given to the guilt and $300,000 fine he had to pay following his ethics hearings. What exactly will we find in those files and what are the exact nature of his ethics violations while serving as Speaker?

Mitt's tax returns and Newt's sealed ethic hearings files. Those should make interesting reading.

ebyrdstarr 2 years, 11 months ago

You should be expecting a lawsuit any day now, bea. You know that wasn't a "fine!" ;)

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

Tange asks if this miight be a sympathy vote. Sorry, but I really see a large portion of the Republican base admiring the guy. He is like Glenn Beck, but running for office.

Lots of times the "conservatives" on here accuse liberals of being "afraid" of people like Palin or Paul, etc., based on criticism leveled against those folks. The truth is, those types are just funny, but they pose no real threat. I'll admit, however, to Gingrich scaring the heck out of me. The thought of a Gingrich presidency is downright scary. Others are saying they hope he wins the nomination, but I can't follow along. In a two party system anything is possible -- from a Swift Boat-like campaign that somehow catches on to a real or even imagined disaster within the Obama camp. Obama is, after all, just a man, and men are capable of all sorts of bad things. Just ask Gingrich.

If Gingrich is one of two candidates running for the Presidency, his chances are within the realm of possiblity. That in itself is a scary thing to consider.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 11 months ago

Good point. When W. was running for the nomination in 2000, lots of folks didn't take him seriously, either. And what a disaster he was.

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

His philandering isn't an issue I really care about, although I do find it humorous that the family values crowd might end up with him as their nominee. For someone who appreciates hypocrisy as much as the next person, you have to admit that that is just funny. I am more concerned with his scorch and burn brand of politics. Also his ethics violations. And his "work as a historian" for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And his flip-flopping on climate change. And ...

Bob Forer 2 years, 11 months ago

It is just proof of how bad this field of candidates is when they lose to Newt Gingrich. Newt Gingrich!

You can't convince me there was even one Obama hating Republican in the country that a year ago would have ever picked Gingrich to run as the nominee. And the reasons for that were all obvious and legitimate and are still all there.

Repubs have to be just beyond embarrasse­d.

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

Isn't it odd that in a story about a Republican candidate winning a primary, and your defense of him is to drag in the ghost of Marilyn Monroe?

Yes, it was a different time then and JFK never would have gotten away with it today. Then again, you would have a hard time finding a starlet today who can compare with Marilyn Monroe. I would think a man, even a partisan Republican, would give JFK credit for style.

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

How can you argue that affairs shouldn't matter, then turn around and use it to say Kennedy was corrupt? Also, a bootlegger during Prohibition was supplying the country with the alcohol it wanted. Most Americans felt that Prohibition is what was corrupt.

Bob Forer 2 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for your posts. Nowadays its hard to find a free punching bag.

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

At least you are being honest that you hate our president.

I.H.O. for those who don't know, equals "I hate Obama." It is a shorthand form of expression I recommended to the haters, akin to skinheads use of "88," since that is the main statement they make when they post.

However, I do need to correct you. He is no poser. He IS our President, even if you hate that fact. He likely will continue to be through 2017, when he is there at the ceremony to swear in President Hillary Clinton.

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

70 is younger than McCain was when he was running. Besides, women live longer than men.

Where are you finding me calling Obama "some great president"? Just because I don't bash him at every turn like you and others here, that doesn't mean I think he hung the moon. If you had been paying attention and quit being blinded by seeing everyone as crazed lefties, I have said many times here that he is just an okay president -- great on some things (dead bin Laden, for instance, and I admire that he did help support workers in the auto industry), and not very good on others (spending too much in the wrong places and not standing behind his convictions in a presidential manner).

Why do you think I keep saying it is a shame that Republicans aren't offering up stronger candidates in an election they could potentially win? I want what is best for our country, not just for a party. If Romney wins the nomination I will give him honest consideration despite his Bain past, and Romney is no great shakes. He could potentially be a good president. However, I cannot even consider in any way, shape or form voting for Gingrich, Santorum (yuk!), or Paul. They are extremists, in my book anyway.

That said, the Republican candidates aren't very good. I do believe Obama will win in a landslide, although fewer voters will turn out than in 2008.

dwendel 2 years, 11 months ago

You forgot to mention that he was raised in Kenya and doesn't have a birth certificate. Losing your edge?

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

It's interesting that you openly acknowledge the use of "code talk" by Republican politicians.

Bob Forer 2 years, 11 months ago

'...that doesn't mean I think he hung the moon.'

I have never heard that expression. Very colorful and descriptive. Will have to remember it.

verity 2 years, 11 months ago

At least Romney is not running on religion. Of course that could be because so many would find his religion objectionable, but I'm still happy to not have to listen to it.

yourworstnightmare 2 years, 11 months ago

I thought I.H.O stood for "I Honest Opinion", and the grammar was poor.

Scott Tichenor 2 years, 11 months ago

In victory, Gingrich praised his Republican rivals and attacked President Barack Obama and “elites in New York and Washington.”

Guy is spending six and seven figures on his wife for jewelry and calling others elitist. Called Clinton an adulterer and lectured good Christian white Republican woman on morals while he was doing the same. The guy is a real pro politician!

Alceste 2 years, 11 months ago

Doesn't South Carolina still allow for the sale of slaves? I know I read that was still going on up and in the hallowed halls of KU libraries........what's the big deal?

Bob Forer 2 years, 11 months ago

'Say what you want Tom'

My god, is that the wurm. I didn't know he was still wiggling.

Bob Forer 2 years, 11 months ago

'Say what you want Tom'

My god, is that the wurm. I didn't know he was still wiggling.

jonas_opines 2 years, 11 months ago

Really, shouldn't Newt Gingrich, a career politician (except for a stint teaching in higher education), who has lived off the public teat for virtually all of his working life, with no morals or values other than whatever keeps him relevant in the political machinery. . . . shouldn't he be absolutely hated by conservatives?

jonas_opines 2 years, 11 months ago

Perhaps your problem isn't based on your ability to see Obama as lacking in substance, but your inability to see that same lack of substance in others that are not Obama.

/or, ya'know, aren't Democrats in general.

jafs 2 years, 11 months ago

Not a fact, an opinion.

Unless you have some IQ tests, or other objective evidence to present.

usnsnp 2 years, 11 months ago

As for the comment that Newt did not make much money while in Congress, 1. check on how much he gets in retirement from his time in Congress, it is more than most of will get after working for 40 or 50 years. 2. If it was not for his time in Congress he would not had all theis speaking engagements, his books would not have sold, and he would not have made millions with his consulting firm.. All he has ever done is live off the government. By the way you can check, historians dont make millions giving advice to companies.

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