Iowa: Mittens holds back surge of Santorum by 8 votes
Iowa was almost overcome by a wave of frothy, racist, homophobic, womb-controlling Santorum last night, but in the end (which came finally around 2:30 AM ET) 8 votes materialized for Mittens to claim he held back the surge.
“You have one, deep within the right, and a scrapper, who did it the old-school, shoe-leather way,” said John Stineman, an Iowa Republican strategist who ran Steve Forbes’ 2000 Iowa caucus campaign. “And you have the candidate who is the national front-runner, who put together a strategy for how they compete and manage expectations.”
Santorum carried vast tracts of Iowa’s rural areas and its conservative northwest, having methodically campaigned in each of Iowa’s 99 counties. For months, he persisted in meeting county party leaders a handful at a time, in 381 local meetings.
Romney carried many of Iowa’s most populous counties, including a number of those he won four years ago, spending less than one-fifth the time and money he did during his 2008 campaign.
Yes, 25% of Iowans — the vast number of them die-hard fundies — sent America the message at their caucuses that they’d like to roll the clock back a couple of centuries by supporting Rick Santorum. CNN pointed out that people making $100K+ threw their support behind Mittens.
A clear loser last night was Michele Bachmann, whose bible-based campaign is floundering despite prayers to the Man Upstairs, is DOA, but she is telling supporters that she’s still in the game.
The Minnesota congresswoman was running in last place among six candidates as returns came in from the nation’s first Republican presidential nominating contest.
“I believe that I am that true conservative who can and who will defeat Barack Obama in 2012,” she said. “What we need is a fearless conservative, one with no compromises on their record on spending on health care, on crony capitalism, on defending America, on standing with our ally Israel.”
The Clown Car occupant who looks like the real buffoon after last night is fifth-place finisher, Texas Governor Rick Perry, who bombastically invoked the prophet Isaiah just before the caucuses:
“You know,” Perry said, “I’ve thought about what the prophet Isaiah heard from the Lord when he was asked, ‘Who shall I send,’ and, ‘Who will go for me?’ Isaiah said, ‘Here I am, send me.’” Pivoting to his presidential campaign, Perry asked the more than 100 hundred supporters at the rally, “Are we going to answer that call?”
I guess the call was to throw in the towel, Gov. Goodhair. He has scrapped his schedule in South Carolina.
“We have been told to hold until we hear from Austin,” said a Perry source in South Carolina, where the candidate was preparing to launch an aggressive statewide bus tour on Wednesday. “It looks like he is not coming this week. He has definitely canceled his plans.”
…”With a little prayer and reflection, I’m going to decide the best path forward,” Perry said.
And as far as Mittens goes as he takes his tiny win to New Hampshire, he’s getting a shot in the arm in terms of an endorsement – Sen. John “Get off of my lawn!” McCain, who will accompany the former Massachusetts governor on the Mittens Express tour bus around NH.
A endorsement by Mr. McCain would essentially return a political favor. Mr. Romney endorsed Mr. McCain in 2008 after dropping out of the race when it became clear that Mr. McCain would win.
…But in other ways, the endorsement could be considered a surprise. The two men — Mr. McCain and Mr. Romney — clashed repeatedly during the 2008 campaign and were not thought to like each other very much.
Still, Mr. McCain is not known to be close with Rick Santorum, who he served with in the Senate for more than a decade.
UPDATE (10:30 AM ET): Bachmann finally saw the handwriting on the wall. There will be a live presser on CNN at 11AM.
Rep. Michele Bachmann is suspending her presidential campaign, said a senior Republican official with direct knowledge of the lawmaker’s plans. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Minnesota lawmaker, a favorite of the tea party wing of the party and a harsh critic of President Obama, realized after her sixth-place finish in Iowa’s caucuses that “there was no viable way forward.” By suspending her campaign, Bachmann is effectively dropping out.
UPDATE 2: The win by Mittens has resulted in panic in fundie land — an emergency “Stop Romney” meeting has been called. (via Right Wing Watch):
A group of movement conservatives has called an emergency meeting in Texas next weekend to find a “consensus” Republican presidential hopeful, POLITICO has learned.
…The meeting is being hosted by such right-leaning figures as James Dobson, Don Wildmon and Gary Bauer. Many of the individuals on the host list attended a previous closed-door session with Rick Perry this summer.
Movement conservatives are concerned that a vote split between Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum among base voters could enable Mitt Romney.