CNN Graphic 01-04-12 12:45 AM CST
At 12:45 AM CST CNN is reporting that Mitt Romney has surged into the lead with a commanding one vote margin in Iowa. Where CNN fears to tread, apparently too gutless to make the call, the Dividist rushes in. I am calling Iowa for Mitt Romney, so I can finish this post and go to bed.
Each of the top three finishers have reason to declare victory in Iowa.
Gingrich, Bachmann and Perry are done.
Regardless of the final vote count, Santorum will be anointed the big winner of the night. His late surge consolidated the Anti-Romney vote. He spent a fraction of the other candidates on the campaign, ran a truly "retail", old-fashioned, up close and personal campaign driving a pick-up across the state and it paid off handsomely. Most important, he entered the contest as a joke candidate, but he leaves Iowa as Romney's primary competition for the Republican nomination.
Romney can declare victory because - well - he got more votes. He may even break into double digits with his margin of victory. He spent a fraction of what he spent in 2008, spent considerably less time in the state, yet still finished with a virtually identical total of 25% of the vote, which this year was good enough for a victory.
[BREAKING: The final vote is in - Romney wins by eight votes - CNN breaks the story with a call into Edith and Carolyn]
Paul can declare victory based on the fact that he punched one of the three tickets out of Iowa, significantly improved his performance in Iowa over 2008, and is grudgingly being covered by the mainstream media as a legitimate candidate. It is unfortunate that his middle name is apparently "Cannot Win The GOP Nomination", as in Ron "Cannot Win the GOP Nomination" Paul. At least that is the way I hear his name pronounced in the MSM. No Matter. With Ron Paul, the important thing is the undiluted libertarian message of peace and freedom being injected directly into body politic. And that is a clear victory.
I watched the speech for all three candidates and will include them here if I can find them. The words that came to mind was authenticity and sincerity. Santorum and Paul had it - Romney did not. Hence the problem for the GOP and perhaps an opening for Huntsman.
Judge for yourself:
Ron Paul Speech:
Rick Santorum Speech:
Mitt Romney Speech:
Don't get me wrong, I can't stand Santorum's politics, but you have to give him credit for an amazing comeback in Iowa and great speech.
As far as convention votes, CNN is reporting Iowa's 27 votes will be split as follows:
7 - Romney
7 - Santorum
7 - Paul
4 - Perry
2 - Gingrich
That will do it for me tonight. I may update with more thoughts on the contest in the morning.