Ron Paul was asked to explain an ad in which he brands Rick Santorum “fake” during tonight’s Republican presidential debate in Arizona and his answer was quite succinct.
“Because he’s a fake,” Mr. Paul said.
As Mr. Paul continued to speak, Mr. Santorum protested saying.
“I’m real, I’m real, I’m real,” he said.
WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney capped off his victory in the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll today with a win in the Maine Republican Caucus. Ron Paul came in second.
WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney stopped Rick Santorum’s primary winning streak with a victory in the straw poll at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference today. Mr. Santorum came in second. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul brought up the rear.
Rick Santorum won the Missouri primary this evening in an upset victory made possible by Newt Gingrich’s failure to get himself on the ballot in the Show Me State. NBC News declared Mr. Santorum the winner just under two hours after the polls closed at 8 p.m. New York time.
After Mr. Gingrich’s win in South Carolina, the race for the Republican nomination seemed to be shaping up as a two man contest between Mr. Gingrich and the frontrunner, Mitt Romney. With his Missouri win, the Santorum campaign hopes voters will reconsider Mr. Santorum as a viable, conservative alternative to Mr. Romney, however he won’t earn any delegates for his victory because of a dispute between the Republican National Committee and the Show Me State.
triumph of newt
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich surged to the front of the pack and pulled out a victory in South Carolina’s Republican primary tonight. Mr. Gingrich, whose performance in the polls over the last year has been a roller coaster of ups and downs, was immediately declared the winner by Fox News, ABC News and MSNBC when polls closed at 7pm.
The defeat is the second set back for Mr. Romney in two days. In addition to losing the Palmetto State, his win in Iowa was reversed yesterday to former Senator Rick Santorum, who finished tonight towards the bottom of the four candidates still competing for the Republican presidential nomination, along with Congressman Ron Paul.
Mitt Romney’s strong win last night, scoring 39% overall and 16% more than the second place finisher, Ron Paul, naturally involved winning many different groups. According to CBS News’ exit poll, Mr. Romney either won outright or placed a very close second to Mr. Paul across most demographic and ideological categories. The data also reveals that he performed strongest among those describing their views as “somewhat conservative” and the very rich.
Indeed, Mr. Romney, who’s very wealthy himself, won more than half of those with families making more than $200,000 a year, one of his highest percentages in the entire exit poll. Among those making $50,000 or less, Mr. Romney only tied Mr. Paul, each earning less than a third of that financially modest vote.
Ron Paul, who is projected to take second place in the New Hampshire primary, spoke to an audience at his campaign headquarters shortly after Mitt Romney made his victory speech. Mr. Paul criticized the media and political establishment for “ignoring” his campaign, but assured his supporters they’ll still succeed in their quest to “restore freedom to this country.”
“I called Governor Romney a short while ago before he gave his talk and congratulated him, because he certainly had a clear cut victory, but we’re nibbling at his heels!” Mr. Paul said. Mr. Paul began his speech by thanking his staff and supporters. He also gave a sarcastic acknowledgment to the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper, which endorsed his rival Jon Huntsman.
“There was one other acknowledgment I wanted to make, I wanted to thank the Union Leader for not endorsing me,” Mr. Paul said.
At the time of this writing, the results of the New Hampshire primary and the Republican nominating contest are officially in doubt. At the time of this writing, the results of the Republican nominating contest, and to a lesser degree, the New Hampshire primary, couldn’t be more certain.
They weren’t decided Tuesday night; they weren’t decided in Iowa, and they won’t be decided in South Carolina in two weeks. The great secret of presidential campaigns is that despite two years of a carnivalesque drama, fluctuating poll numbers and maybe even a primary-night victory or two, it is pretty easy to tell who the winner will be once the field is set.
Did you really think Howard Dean would carry the Democratic line in 2004, even as he led all polls for most of the run-up to the voting? Did you really think Rudy Giuliani would be the Republican candidate in 2008, even as he opened up double-digit leads in state and national polls? Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter are anomalies; on the Republican side, the exceptions are nonexistent. The also-rans—the ones whose turn it isn’t—run for one of two reasons: either they hope to finish in second place, in order to the next guy in line the next time around, or they are running To Prove a Point—that America is about to be taken over by Mexicans, or that moral decay is imminent. Or, this time around at least, they run to raise their profile, make some money off of book sales, get a gig on Fox News. (Has Herman Cain ever made a business move that paid off as much as his aborted attempt to become the Leader of the Free World?)
But gamely they soldier on.
During last night’s Republican presidential debate, Ron Paul said the firestorm over the controversial racial statements in his early 1990′s newsletters distracts from the real issues around race in this country.
He also invoked Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks while arguing he’s really the best candidate for African Americans.
“Concentrating on something that was written twenty years ago that I didn’t write, you know, is diverting the attention from most of the important issues,” Mr. Paul said. “More importantly, you ought to ask me what my relationship is for racial relationships, and one of my heroes is Martin Luther King, because he practiced the libertarian principle of peaceful resistance and peaceful civil disobedience, as did Rosa Parks did. But also, I’m the only one up here and the only one in the Democratic party that understands true racism in this country’s in the juficial system.”
Moderator George Stephanopoulos ended tonight’s Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire by asking the candidate’s what they’d be doing tonight if they “weren’t here running for president.” Rick Perry didn’t hesitate before giving his answer.
“I’d probably be at the shooting range,” Mr. Perry said.
Mr. Perry spent some time last Friday at an Austin-area shooting range “relaxing” ahead of the debate.
The other candidates also discussed what they’d be doing this evening if they weren’t on the campaign trail.