It’s the biggest day of the 2012 campaign so far, and we’re going to follow it here with posts as long as we are awake. Watch this space!
We begin with William McGurn’s reminder that conventional wisdom is often wrong, as in 1980, when the pundits were sure no Republican could beat Jimmy Carter.
The real must-read for Romney fans is Gerald Seib’s “Respect or Not, Romney Keeps Winning:”
Mitt Romney arrives at Super Tuesday as not only the clear favorite to win the Republican presidential nomination, but also as the Rodney Dangerfield of American politics….
We’ll be back.
7:15 a.m. PST: The first honest, fair reporting I’ve seen on Ann Romney’s comment about her wealth: ow.ly/9u0xr
Just so everyone knows, here’s the full quote from Mrs. Romney:
“[O]ne thing this disease has been for me has been a wonderful teacher. And with that comes an ability for compassion for others that are suffering. And for me, I want to make my family bigger. Those that are suffering from M.S. or cancer or any disease I feel like I want to throw my arms open and say, welcome to my family and welcome to the place where I’ve been and, so, you know, we can be poor in spirit and I don’t look — I don’t even consider myself wealthy which is am interesting thing. It can be here today and gone tomorrow, and how I measure riches is by the friends I have and the loved ones I have and the people I care about in my life and that is where my values are and those are my riches so for me having done through a difficult period in my life both with M.S. and with breast cancer it has done something to my heart and it’s softened my heart and made me realize there are many people suffering in this country and they are suffering from things that aren’t financial — and some people are suffering from things that are financial, as well — but those that are suffering, for me, I just have a larger capacity for love, and for understanding.”
And you can watch the video here. After watching it, I think the way her statement, “I don’t even consider myself wealthy which is an interesting thing” has been used is pretty disgusting, especially in light of the true context and the overall warmth of her comments.
8:13 AM (John here) – Rush Limbaugh seems to be a bigger story than super Tuesday today and Team Obama is trying to make hay out of that.
And then there is this thought:
Mark W. Leach at Public Discourse argues that, at least in the case of the selective abortion of Down Syndrome children, being pro-life is simply not enough to stop abortion
That’s something we have been saying for a long time around here. If abortion is your issue politics is not the best answer. Some thing are church issues, not political ones.
8:50 (John Mark here):
Mitt Romney wins Ohio and it is time for the others to leave the race for the good of the party. I know it is old fashioned, but when I was young I learned to type with the phrase: “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party.” After Super Tuesday only Romney will be a national candidate. If he wins Ohio, there will be no path to the nomination for any other candidate.
A brokered convention harms the Party. If he has the most delegates, Romney would still be the likely nominee. Time for Santorum and Gingrich to get out.
9:44 a.m. (Lowell)
Sorry, John Mark, I just saw a report that Newt Gingrich is getting Secret Service protection starting at midnight tonight. That’s not what a candidate does just before dropping out.
12:13 p.m. (Lowell)
NRO’s Brian Bolduc says Santorum Can’t Win 1,144 Delegates. Bolduc does the math in his article.
12:17 p.m. (Lowell)
Romney tells Larry Kudlow why he’s “not going to light his hair on fire.” Video here. Partial transcription:
KUDLOW: All right. And… I’m not going to light my hair on fire.’ That’s you. I don’t have it up here. But you say, `I’m not going to light my hair on fire.’ Was that your way of saying that the economic issues have to be preeminent relative to the social issues? Was that your message?
Gov. ROMNEY: Well, my message is I’m not going to say outrageous things about the president or about my opponents. It gets headlines and a lot of excitement, and it gets you, by the way, a number of days in the polls to get a nice little bump. But I’m going to talk about the real issues Americans face and talk with respect about people who have differing views. I’m not going to attack them personally. I mean, I know that’s fun, but it’s just not productive. And we need, as a nation, to come together to recognize that even though we have differing views about the country and about where we should go, we all love the country. And I recognize that among Democrats and among Republicans. I want to lead the country. I don’t want to castigate half of Americans. I want to bring us together and finally get the job done of having a stronger economy with a–with a government that’s been kept in the—in the–into the box it ought to be kept into.
That’s a nice contrast with some of Romney’s opponents.
12:23 p.m. (Lowell)
Nancy French: “Voting in Tennessee Is Less Dramatic than Voting in Pennsylvania.”
12:46 p.m. (Lowell)
Early Ohio exit poll: Romney 38 Santorum 35 Newt 16 Paul 12… Next update 4 pm EST
1:05 p.m. (Lowell)
A Super Tuesday slide show.
1:45 p.m. (Lowell)
Rich Lowry throws cold water on the idea that losing the 2012 presidential election won’t be so bad: “No Substitute for Victory.
If anyone does a year-end wrap-up of the worst ideas of 2012, losing the presidential election deserves to be high on the list.
A note of gloomy wishfulness has entered Republican thinking of late. Maybe a loss in November (if Mitt Romney wins the nomination) won’t be so bad, because a cleansing fire will rid the party of moderates once and for all. Or, from the opposite point of view (if Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich were somehow to get nominated), a devastating defeat will teach the party’s purists a lesson. In any event, a Republican Congress could foil President Barack Obama’s noxious initiatives in a second term.
All of this is hopefulness masquerading as hardheadedness. No shift in the balance of power within the Republican party, no congressional check on the president, no silver lining can possibly outweigh the setback the GOP will suffer if President Obama wins a second term.
1:54 p.m. (Lowell)
OH EXIT POLL 4PM UPDATE: Romney 39 Santorum 35 Newt 15 Paul 11
2:12 p.m. (John)
Among the major Super Tuesday states, Tennessee’s contest is the one where former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum had been, for a time at least, doing best.
And indeed, at the historic, white clapboard Nolensville First United Methodist Church, about 20 miles southwest of Nashville, Santorum found enthusiastic fans.
“I think he’s the one who fears God the most,” said Chris Newell, an insurance salesmen, 58, from Nolensville. “I think he stands for conservative principles.”
Yep, first three paragraphs of the story – no subliminal message there. (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink)
CNN exit of Ohio: 64% of voters say they’re “conservative.” Romney and Santorum TIED among those.
4:15 p.m. (John)
Gingrich wins Georgia, “Virginia too early to call” my sweet Aunt Petunia! (Gingrich has not achieved pure majority in his home state.)
4:20 p.m. (John)
Virginia called for Romney.
4:28 p.m. (John)
Vermont called for Romney. (Fox, no link available at the moment)
4:45 p.m. (John)
CNN live Blog:
7:31 p.m. ET – Forty percent of Ohio voters supported Romney, followed by 36% for Santorum, 12% for Gingrich and 11% for Paul, according to CNN exit polling.
4:50 p.m. (John)
1% reporting in Ohio – Romney has two point lead. Has 59% in Virginia with 46% reporting – so much for one of the others could beat Romney if there was no “not Romney” competition.
4:55 p.m. (John)
Romney’s victory in the Commonwealth will almost certainly net him all 46 of Virginia’s delegates due to the fact that only he and Texas Rep. Ron Paul qualified for the ballot.
Under state rules, if a candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, which Romney almost certainly will, then the delegates will be parceled out in a winner-take-all format — both by congressional district and statewide. That means that Romney will claim the three delegates for each of the 11 districts in the state as well as the 13 delegates for winning the statewide vote with more than 50 percent.
That matters a lot.
5:00 p.m. (John)
Massachusetts called for Romney
4:35 pm (John Mark)
My family joined the Republican Party before the Civil War.
I dare you call my room of GOP voters “RINOs.”
1. Either Gingrich or Santorum must leave the race for any chance that Romney can be stopped.
2. Gingrich has a win in Georgia, but I cannot see any significance in it.
3. Ohio for Romney or even close means running for Santorum is a vanity race or looking for a brokered convention. A brokered convention is bad for the Party and would still leave to Romney as the nominee. Could he be denied with the majority of delegates?
4. Romney is the only candidate running a national campaign.
5. If Romney is such a weak candidate, why doesn’t someone beat him?
4:45 John Mark:
Just read another story on Mormon baptismal practices . . .
Having read the announcement from the Mormon Church I don’t understand the reason this story continues.
What is the harm alleged here? What does it have to do with Mitt Romney? Why are errors from some members reflecting on the Church?
1. The fact only Romney is on every ballot today is another reason to support Romney. Fact: if you cannot get on the ballot running for President, you have organizational skill problems.
2. If Romney comes in even second in the Volunteer State, he will have gotten thousands of Evangelical votes.
3. Appearance of Obama today indicates some concern on his point about Republican attacks.
5:00 John Mark:
Oklahoma win for Santorum means he will stay? Why? Is anyone manly enough to drop out?
If Santorum wins three states, then Newt should go. If Santorum wins two states, then I don’t get his calculus. He simply will not have the delegates.
State is Huckabee territory and will go to any GOP nominee. The idea is to win states that are in play. That is why Ohio matters compared to either OK (GOP) or Mass (DEM).
Ohio is the whole thing tonight.
Romney shows weakness with the lunch bucket crowd. He needs a blue collar guy . . . a Huckabee like figure as vice-president,
Romney-Care is unpopular with GOP voters in Massachusetts. That is bad news for Governor Romney, but they voted for him anyone . . . which tells you how not fatal that issue is.
Romney second in Georgia is a good sign for him. Evangelicals will vote for him since the Mormon vote in Georgia is not massive . . .
So if Santorum wins Ohio, I get his path. What is Newt’s path?
National polls are heading Romney’s way . . . GOP voters are warming up.
Rick Santorum has suffered for my causes. I honor him for it, but he has a horrible personality for a national race. Right?
My friends who are Ron Paul folk keep arguing elections are stolen from their guy . . . well, how is going tonight?
Rick Santorum can snatch controversy from the jaws of consensus.
Newt Gingrich burns through Georgia on his way to where it is hard to see.
Mitt Romney needs to avoid being Charles X.
In person, Laura Ingrahuam is just the way she sounds.
Attacking JFK is foolish. People like JFK, though he was a rotten man and a mediocre President. Reagan never made the mistake of doing so: he admired Franklin Roosevelt as a war-time leader . . . as he should have . . . and promoted what he could about JFK (tax cuts). Santorum must learn.
Newt’s focus on gas prices is smart, but Newt and gas are a bad image.
5:39 John Mark
Santorum victory in Tennessee. Big win. Romney second. That is good as well for him.
Unfortunate first line for Callista: “Newt and I are engaged . . . ”
Gussie Fink-Nottle rejoices as Newt wins Georgia.
Newt wins South Carolina and Georgia . . . heading for the CSA presidency,
Newt attacks elite, and talks about the hard time he had in the summer (on his cruise) . . . and I think, “Who is the elite of the party? If not you?”
Newt talks about himself. Newt on Newt means a speaker fascinated with the topic.
Newt has good ideas. Get to them.
Look: I have great, brilliant friends who love Newt. They love his ideas. They love his passion. They love his history. Sadly, Newt is not talking about his platform.
Newt equals gas.
There I did what he said.
Callista was sent out . . . and did her best. I felt badly for her. She was over-rehearsed but seems nice.
Sitting waiting for Ohio is like a Star Wars film festival, you have done it before and it gets worse every time you see the newest iteration.
Can I just say I love Steubenville? The University there is one of the best I have ever visited.
Get to the point Rick. Why is everyone talking about themselves?
Dear Rick: Why do you want to President? I love your family. Why should I vote for you?
My back of the envelope guess-timate says Romney by two in Ohio.
Santorum for Veep? Maybe not. Too undisciplined. I like Rubio.
I have a bad habit of nattering . . . Rick has a bad habit of nattering. I am not running for President. He needs to solve his problem.
Bad elites are bad, but not because they are elites. Being an elite is generally a good thing . . . being a bad one is bad for the same reason bad poor people are bad.
I am sorry: but Governor Romney is a gentleman with a decent character.
What is wrong with him? He has saved friend’s children’s lives. He has worked to keep an Olympic from scandal and shame. He has governed a Democratic state. He has worked for the Party for years . . .
Romney big family, but right to the point.
Mitt talks about someone other than himself. Shocking.
Romney refers to vets. First mention of the night . . . Romney is no robot: he is a humble man. Can a humble man win?
Watch Romney defer to others story. . . Newt told the story of his campaign, Santorum of his thinking and beliefs, Romney about others. Mitt’s crowd chants: “USA!” It is about the country.
Look . . . we don’t need Mitt . . . we need more of us to be like Mitt. We need to be faithful to our wives, give more of our income to charity, innovate, and serve our country.
I blame Mormonism for Mitt’s good qualities.
Gosh darn them to heck. (Trying to channel AP.)
Silver says Santorum will win Ohio. Real race now.
If Santorum wins Ohio, then Romney and Santorum are the only choices. Santorum will have won against the odds. It is a huge win for him. Period.
Romney beating Gingrich in Tennessee is big.
7:22 p.m. (John)
Looks like Santorum in North Dakota and Romney HUGE in Idaho. Ohio still pending. Only surprise tonight to my mind is Tennessee – I expected closer. Early exit polling says that is all about Evangelicals. Just makes me sad.
8:07 p.m. (John)
Romney just took the lead in Ohio! It looks to expand…
9:05 p.pm. (John)
Romney’s Ohio lead seems stable. Alaska just closed, no word yet. I have to get to bed. Lowell and I have travel days tomorrow, we’ll post as we can, but our detailed analysis may be later inthe day than you are used to. Watch this delegate count interactive graphic. It shows just how smart Romney is running this race, and he is winning – big – despite what you hear. Regardless of how Ohio finishes, Romney has had a great day.
Here is my quick analysis. Romney has taken a big bite out of Santorum in Ohio, independent of outcome. Santorum and Romney took a big bite out of Gingrich in Tennessee. Time for Newt to fill up with some of that gas and float away. The failure of Santorum and Gingrich to qualify in VA is just a flat out failure.
Romney’s the nominee – period. Everything else is a fantasy, media bias, or a bias of an even more sinister nature. But that is a story for another time.