Open thread: Alabama and Mississippi; NBC calls Alabama for Santorum; Fox News calls Mississippi for Santorum; Santorum video added

posted at 7:30 pm on March 13, 2012 by Allahpundit

The polls close at 8 p.m. ET. Am I right in thinking that after two months and 26 elections, these are the first primaries that are legit toss-ups between all three candidates? Until now, it’s always been Romney vs. either Santorum or Gingrich as the regionally designated Not Romney, but tonight either state could break for any of them. RCP has them separated by less than three points in Alabama and six points in Mississippi. And bear in mind, per Nate Silver, polls of the deep south have been less reliable in recent years than polls of other regions. Anything could happen here, including a pair of 32/31/30 splits. Excitement.

Jay Cost notes that Romney should have a better shot in Alabama because he does well with urban voters and there are more of them there than in Mississippi. Serious question, though. Is a sweep Mitt’s most desirable outcome tonight? He badly wants to win one of these states so that he can claim the approval of the GOP’s southern base, but if he takes them both, Gingrich will be devastated and might very well quit notwithstanding his tough talk this morning. Romney doesn’t want a two-man race with Santorum: If Team Sweater Vest starts beating him head to head, then Mitt could well end up in June with a plurality of delegates (thanks to proportional rules) but a badly weakened case for why he should be the nominee at a brokered convention. I’m thinking maybe his optimal scenario is to win one state and have Newt win the other. That’ll keep Gingrich in the game while still giving Romney bragging rights about a win in the deep south. By the same token, the Romney (and Gingrich) disaster scenario is Santorum winning both states. It would give RS a killer talking point about the base lining up behind him to be the RINO dragon-slayer, which might be the death blow for Newt.

Here’s the Google Elections page for all your result-following needs. Don’t get too caught up in delegate counts for these states, though — Hawaii and American Samoa are also voting today so the numbers will change as their results come in overnight. (Romney is favored.) Lots of updates coming, including exit polls as soon as they’re available. While we wait, a point to ponder: Are we sure that Gingrich dropping out would be a big problem for Mitt? His own team claims that it wouldn’t. Based on some of the poll data, they might be right.

Update: Preliminary exit poll results show a lots of evangelicals turning out in both states, which is no surprise and is good news for Santorum, needless to say. The proportion of those voters in Alabama and Mississippi are in line with the proportions in Tennessee and Oklahoma, both of which he won comfortably.

Update: Via BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, a lesson from 2007 on … “ultimate conservatism.”

Update: As promised, the Alabama and Mississippi exit polls. Back in a few with highlights.

Update: An interesting gender split in Alabama: Newt narrowly won men while Santorum won women by eight points. (So much for the “women hate RS” meme.) And yet, based on the numbers, it looks like Newt is set to finish just a hair behind Romney in third place. Two other interesting data points. First, ideology:

That’s confirmation of the CW all the way. Santorum wins righties over Newt, the center-right splits three ways, and then Romney cleans up with moderates and liberals. Similarly:

Rarely have you seen three different candidates split this perennial question about qualities the electorate is looking for, but here you go. Again, perfect reflection of the CW. See why we’re in for a close race?

Misssissippi exit analysis coming up.

Update: Same odd story for Newt in Mississippi. He wins narrowly among men but may yet end up finishing a very close third because of Romney’s and Santorum’s relative strength with women. Here’s the data point of the night so far, though:

Fully 80 percent of the electorate is evangelical — and Romney somehow managed to fight Santorum to a draw among them. If he ends up winning the state, that’s the story. Another surprisingly strong Romney showing comes with voters without a college degree. That’s supposed to be Newt’s and Rick’s bread and butter, but no:

Romney also tied Santorum for the lead among voters who make less than $50,000 per year. As for qualities in a candidate, Mississippi looks a lot like Alabama:

And one more just for fun that someone flagged on Twitter:

Among voters who said Ron Paul’s positions are “about right,” the candidate of choice is … Mitt Romney?

Needless to say, Santorum can live with splitting these states with Romney. Job one is getting Gingrich out of the race ASAP. If Newt finishes third in both, we might very well see it. I wonder if we’ll see it tonight.

Update: David Freddoso has a copy of a memo sent out tonight by Team Newt vowing that they’ll soldier on, which sounds like they’re conceding the evening. Bachmann vowed to soldier on the night she finished last in Iowa too but was gone the next day. Stay tuned.

Update: It’s now 90 minutes after the polls closed and … 7.2 percent of Alabama precincts have reported. Santorum leads there and in Mississippi (where 24 percent have reported) as I write this.

Update: Romney told CNN earlier that Santorum is at “the desperate end of his campaign.” Right message, wrong target.

Update: At 9:53 ET, and with only 26 percent reporting, NBC finally calls Alabama for Santorum. And don’t look now, but with 78 percent reporting in Mississippi, Santorum is clinging to a 2,000-vote lead over Gingrich. Romney is another 2,000 votes back. Looks like the exits got it wrong there, likely vis-a-vis the evangelical numbers.

The worst-case scenario for Mitt tonight was a Santorum sweep. We’re on the verge of it.

Update: Aha. Philip Klein notes that CNN has now updated their exit poll numbers. (Unfortunately, the early data isn’t always final.) Remember how it was a big deal that Romney and Santorum were tied at 32 among evangelicals in Mississippi? Here’s how it looks now:

That’s why Rick is doing better than expected and Mitt’s doing worse.

Update: Mississippi’s not called yet but Team Santorum is already elbowing Newt:

Rick Santorum spokesperson Alice Stewart said she believes after Tuesday night it will be a “two-man race” between Santorum and Mitt Romney…

A “son of the South” like Gingrich, she said, “should be doing much better than this.”

“This is going to be, after tonight, this will be a two-man race,” Stewart said. “It’s going to be Rick and Mitt, and we’re going to clear the field and Rick’s got a good shot down the road.”

Update: Now 83 percent reporting in Mississippi and the numbers are holding — Santorum by 2,000 votes over Gingrich and Romney 5,000 votes behind. Jackson’s county, where Romney is piling up votes, is 89 percent in right now so there’s not much meat on the bone left there either for him.

Update: With 90 percent in now, Santorum’s lead has expanded to more than 3,000 votes. I’m reluctant to forecast a race even at this late hour after the last-minute Romney comeback in Ohio, but it looks like Team Sweater Vest is going to pull off the sweep. One last dramatic twist to this interminable primary.

Update: More than 96 percent in now as of 10:40 ET and Santorum’s lead is nearly 4,000 votes. He’s going to pull this off and Romney’s going to finish third in both states. What a deflating defeat for the presumptive nominee, especially after that early exit poll had him winning Mississippi. We should get the call soon.

Update: At 10:43 ET, there’s the call from Fox News. Santorum wins Mississippi and sweeps the southern primaries today. Wow.

Update: Matt Lewis says it’s time for Newt to take a hint:

While the idea Gingrich could or would win a brokered convention seems absurd, it is likely that continuing to accrue delegates would give him additional bargaining leverage going into the Republican convention in Tampa this summer.

But there are good reasons for Gingrich to reject that cynical strategy. First, if he truly believes Mitt Romney is a “Massachusetts moderate” masquerading as a conservative, then he owes it to Republican voters to give former Sen. Rick Santorum a clean shot at wresting the nomination from him. I’m pretty sure Santorum has earned it.

Second, staying in the race — merely in order to play a king maker or to curry favor at a later time — is hardly the most honorable or inspiring reason to remain in a race. Gingrich would be essentially asking donors to contribute money to a campaign he knows cannot win — and he would be asking voters to cast their votes for a candidate he knows can’t win.

Gingrich’s problem after tonight is that he might have lost the last shreds of his constituency, whether or not he’s inclined to quit. If you’re a Republican who’s dead set against nominating Romney, what’s the argument for sticking with Newt? Either you’re staying home because you can’t stand Santorum or else you’re gritting your teeth and pulling the lever for the Sweater Vest. There’s no compelling reason to go to the polls for Gingrich. He can’t win even in his own backyard.

Update: PPP: “Our NC GOP poll coming out tomorrow shows an 8 point shift toward Santorum if Newt was out. Nothing but a spoiler at this point.” If Newt wants revenge on Romney for spoiling his chances in Iowa and Florida, dropping out and endorsing Santorum is his best option.

Update: Gingrich is giving his concession speech now and vowing to go on but I don’t think it’s up to him. His voters need to decide their next move. If they break for Santorum and he starts beating Romney head to head — starting next Tuesday in Illinois — then he’s got a compelling narrative headed into the convention even if Mitt ends up winning a plurality of delegates. Namely, “the only reason Romney ended up with a delegate lead is because Newt and I split conservatives in the early primaries. Once Newt faded and it turned into a binary choice, I was the clear preference of the majority.” That is to say, if Santorum can put together a winning streak against Romney, he can point to tonight’s results as a de facto “reset” of the primary. Southern voters discarded Gingrich and adopted him and that propelled him to a series of wins. Forget the delegate count and focus on that strenuous “Not Romney” sentiment among Republican voters. That’s his argument. Romney needs a counter.

Update: Here’s Santorum’s speech, in which he marvels “we did it again.” Elsewhere, Nate Silver remembers that Gingrich’s own spokesman called Alabama and Mississippi must-wins for him just a few days ago.


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If it goes to a brokered convention, we need to pick someone who can unite all legs of the GOP – fiscal, social and national security. Realistically, thats the only way to truly beat Obama. One leg hating on the other just weakens the GOP. Our compromise candidate should be marginally acceptable to all 3 legs.

tommy71 on March 14, 2012 at 5:45 AM

who?

nathor on March 14, 2012 at 5:47 AM

All this effort to select the best of a bad bunch. Meanwhile, there is really only one person left in the Republican party that could win this in a walk. And everyone knows who that person is…

It’s funny watching the cable news shows, especially Fox, where guests and host trot out various names for winning in a brokered convention. They throw out all these different names, but always tread eggshells around that one little particular name. You can almost read their minds, each guest wondering if the other has the brass to say that name aloud. And none of them do.

Buckshot Bill on March 14, 2012 at 5:48 AM

rand paul?

christie would be ok too. just no religious radicals please!

nathor on March 14, 2012 at 5:45 AM

rand paul’s the man!

are you saying Santz is a religious radical? SHAME!!

Santz is a religious idiot.

DHChron on March 14, 2012 at 5:50 AM

nathor, I don’t know who. Trying to figure out alternatives. So far, we got daniels, christie, pence, walker. Buckshot, if its a brokered convention, the repub establishment would never agree to She-who-shall-not-be-named.

tommy71 on March 14, 2012 at 5:59 AM

nathor on March 14, 2012 at 5:45 AM

rand paul’s the man!

are you saying Santz is a religious radical? SHAME!!

Santz is a religious idiot.

DHChron on March 14, 2012 at 5:50 AM

santy nomination victory will produce such a electoral defeat in november, that will undercut social cons political ambitions for a long time.

nathor on March 14, 2012 at 6:01 AM

All this effort to select the best of a bad bunch. Meanwhile, there is really only one person left in the Republican party that could win this in a walk. And everyone knows who that person is…

It’s funny watching the cable news shows, especially Fox, where guests and host trot out various names for winning in a brokered convention. They throw out all these different names, but always tread eggshells around that one little particular name. You can almost read their minds, each guest wondering if the other has the brass to say that name aloud. And none of them do.

Buckshot Bill on March 14, 2012 at 5:48 AM

I know exactly what you mean and I totally agree with you but I just don’t think Petraeus wants the job.

alchemist19 on March 14, 2012 at 6:02 AM

tommy71 on March 14, 2012 at 5:59 AM

I didn’t say that person would win the brokered convention. But if that person were in now, this whole thing would be over – probably months ago actually. I mean for a while Newt was leading!!! Cain! Even Trump! Can you imagine what would happen if a real solid Conservative was running today?

As for the brokered convention, the party leaders will be so po’d at the cons base, they’ll nominate Murkowski or Specter just out of spite. Or McCain again.

Buckshot Bill on March 14, 2012 at 6:03 AM

nathor, I don’t know who. Trying to figure out alternatives. So far, we got daniels, christie, pence, walker. Buckshot, if its a brokered convention, the repub establishment would never agree to She-who-shall-not-be-named.

tommy71 on March 14, 2012 at 5:59 AM

what a mess. I dont really know most of these candidates. they would be vetted by the establishment and delivered to us peons to vote for…
ugh!

nathor on March 14, 2012 at 6:04 AM

alchemist19 on March 14, 2012 at 6:02 AM

Good guess, but the correct answer was: Zombie Reagan.

But, seriously, don’t mention she-who-run-but-will-get-more-write-ins-than-anyone-not-named-Paul. If you do, someone will post that stupid horn blowing LOTR video link again. And the world will end.

Buckshot Bill on March 14, 2012 at 6:06 AM

STB: she-who-won’t-run

Man, I’m getting tired…

Buckshot Bill on March 14, 2012 at 6:07 AM

It would be amusing if it was a Romney/Huckabee ticket. With uncle Ron as treasury sec and Gingrich as press sec. Lol. That may marginally satisfy all 3 legs.

tommy71 on March 14, 2012 at 6:14 AM

I didn’t say that person would win the brokered convention. But if that person were in now, this whole thing would be over – probably months ago actually. I mean for a while Newt was leading!!! Cain! Even Trump! Can you imagine what would happen if a real solid Conservative was running today?

As for the brokered convention, the party leaders will be so po’d at the cons base, they’ll nominate Murkowski or Specter just out of spite. Or McCain again.

Buckshot Bill on March 14, 2012 at 6:03 AM

Honestly I think if Palin were in it it would still be going on (RNC rule changes assured a long primary. There were over 1000 delegates up on February 5th in 2008 and there haven’t been 1000 delegates up yet this year even after yesterday) and the level of nastiness would be an order of magnitude worse than it is right now. It’s bad right now despite the fact no one really likes the person they’re holding their nose and voting for; if Palin were running there would be open warfare. I’m not saying anything positive or negative about her personally, I’m just saying what I think the campaign would look like.

alchemist19 on March 14, 2012 at 6:17 AM

Gingrich won’t quit race ‘for Mitt Romney’

Despite two losses in the South, Newt Gingrich vows to continue his campaign and says he can “still win.”

Romney ‘not conservative enough’ for Southern voters

santorum wins 2 states and this is the headline on yahoo – they don’t even say his name or who won

ArthurMachado on March 14, 2012 at 6:34 AM

santy nomination victory will produce such a electoral defeat in november, that will undercut social cons political ambitions for a long time.

nathor on March 14, 2012 at 6:01 AM

uh huh,.. they (the folks who hate social cons more than they ever did progressives) always always trumpet each election will be the death of social conservatives.. so they can get on with the business of depressing all moral standards, legalizing every vice, and otherwise promising utopia on Earth, if they can just stop some Christians from voting in any signifigant numbers..

You libertarians have no clue what we want, you keep building these strawmen to attack without ever producing a single policy plan or initiative that would turn America in your dreaded theocracy.

Get over yourselves..

We’ll still be here in ten years, you libertarian types will go back to your bunkers and preach the end of the world survivalist nonsense, buy your gold, and go out back to burn more bibles… just to feel better..

Heavan forbid someone suggest that something might be immoral… that just makes Paul voters run to check their hemp plants to make sure they’re safe..

mark81150 on March 14, 2012 at 6:36 AM

ED…your’e a fool. Santz lost by 16 points as an incumbent! Maybe you hate butt sex, but lots of people like it. ban me please! It proves you’re a coward.

DHChron on March 14, 2012 at 6:38 AM

good morning folks…

A B O is what it is all about…not crazy for santorum at all but we must defeat dear leader…

another 4 years of his crapola, what will america look like?

cmsinaz on March 14, 2012 at 6:43 AM

Ed has a nice write-up there at the week. Good analysis. And if ain’t around here on April 3rd, happy birthday.

tommy71 on March 14, 2012 at 6:49 AM

ED…your’e a fool. Santz lost by 16 points as an incumbent! Maybe you hate butt sex, but lots of people like it. ban me please! It proves you’re a coward.

DHChron on March 14, 2012 at 6:38 AM

I vote for coward, ben hammer. Disrespectful TOOL

screwauger on March 14, 2012 at 6:52 AM

I vote for coward, ben hammer. Disrespectful TOOL

screwauger on March 14, 2012 at 6:52 AM

santorum fan

DHChron on March 14, 2012 at 6:54 AM

DHChron on March 14, 2012 at 6:54 AM

Tool knows nothing. I will vote anti Obowmao, regardless of your tool status

screwauger on March 14, 2012 at 6:56 AM

it’s ban hammer dork

DHChron on March 14, 2012 at 6:56 AM

obviously, you knew what I meant. Tool!

screwauger on March 14, 2012 at 6:57 AM

so will I :) am I still a tool?

DHChron on March 14, 2012 at 6:57 AM

only you know the truth…

screwauger on March 14, 2012 at 6:58 AM

Had to get up early to wake my daughter for school, I had hoped the bitter hysteria was past, but it just festered on another 6 pages..

first I see more wishful thinking that we loose in the fall with Santorum, just so the burnings and purgings of Christianists can begin in earnest.. then an open insult to Ed begging to be banned, I suppose to feed that old martyr complex..

None of these men are saints, none are the devil.. you make your best choice and move on, the panic among Romney’s biggest boosters is amazing. Common sense tells us, he probably will limp across, but he might not, and that has his partisans going postal on the rest..

Romney has never won but by plurality, and that speaks ill of his ability to win the general, the Romney partisans refuse to acknowledge that, and insult anyone who isn’t a Romney partisan.. which would be most of us here..

It’s hysterical nonsense, pols are starting to show Obama loosing to everybody, and that’s not a joke. We can win in November if folks stop with the endless tantrums.

mark81150 on March 14, 2012 at 7:00 AM

then why are you so adamant in expressing your own “truth”?

“Cussing is bad!” – Ed Morrisey

DHChron on March 14, 2012 at 7:01 AM

“Santorum is good” – Ed Morrisey

DHChron on March 14, 2012 at 7:03 AM

like it or not, Romney has a Santorum problem, however you split it. Like it or not, Santorum has a Gingrich problem. Like it or not, Obama has a helluva lot of problems, most of them self inflicted.

At some point, Mitt and Rick both have to bridge their respective problems, Obama has to embrace his own and we need to get moving forward.

ted c on March 14, 2012 at 7:04 AM

looking for a statesman…..

ted c on March 14, 2012 at 7:05 AM

Hawaii’s done counting and the current delegate apportionment is 8 for Romney, 3 for Santorum, 1 for Paul and 0 for Gingrich. That means for the day Mitt padded his lead by about six delegates while the media and Mitt’s opponents got everything they needed to push the narrative that this race should continue onward. So in a way everyone loses! If that isn’t the perfect microcosm for this whole primary then I don’t know what is.

alchemist19 on March 14, 2012 at 7:10 AM

ot: axlerod backs out of maher’s show

heh :)

cmsinaz on March 14, 2012 at 7:11 AM

Rick Santorum says: I “will win the nomination before the convention.”

The man is bat-shit crazy.

mountainaires on March 14, 2012 at 7:12 AM

these exit polls keep saying one thing, people may like a certain candidate but the majority of these voters think romney is the man to beat obama

cmsinaz on March 14, 2012 at 7:13 AM

At some point, Mitt and Rick both have to bridge their respective problems, Obama has to embrace his own and we need to get moving forward.

ted c on March 14, 2012 at 7:04 AM

Santorum and Romney will make peace at some point, they have too, for the good of the country both men are smart enough to see we’re much likelier to win if they merge their voters.. I don’t see either has to take the VP slot, but have a voice in who does.

It’s as likely to resolve itself quickly as not, despite all the dire forecasts of impending doom.

Rick and Mitt can walk away with a handshake and heal the party..

not so sure about many here, but imagine how well we’ll do with Mitt’s organization and Rick’s enthusiastic voters? It may not feed the fantasies of some here of seeing Rick crushed, but which is smarter?.. beating Obama or engaging in petty revenge?

Romney should be talking deal with Santorum.. he really should.

mark81150 on March 14, 2012 at 7:14 AM

There is no fusionist candidate running for President. Period.

The person who ties together the moral reasons for a fiscally conservative, limited power government will not be here in this cycle. Understanding the roots of self-reliance and moral law as the basis for fiscal conservatism and limited government given very few duties so that we have the burden of leading good lives upon ourselves is something that none of those running can clearly and unequivocally state and has a background in performing that way.

If you want that person in the next cycle you have to start getting them into government this cycle and, more importantly, into your local and State governments in the intervening cycles so that there is a deeper bench and broader support for this fusion of the three-legged stool of conservatism that has been created by the progressives for you to die upon.

Go back to the basics, realize that there is a basis to fuse all three and that they must be understood as a whole, not broken down into parts to be played with by elites against your common sense.

Only you can make this the LAST election where the old progressives on the Left and Right vie for the Presidency. Zombie Reagan ain’t gonna do it, but YOU can. That person isn’t running this time around so the question is does this problem come from the top or the bottom? From the elites pushing a candidate and viewpoint on the party or the party letting them do that and not pulling their power over money and having a say at the convention as super-delegates? You want a REAL floor battle at the Republican National Convention? Move to change the by-laws of the party to strip all the super-delegates of any voting rights outside of those they have ALREADY USED at the voting booth.

To get better candidates you must grow them from the lowest level.

To get a better party you must make it represent the lowest level and make the highest mere administrators, not ‘Leaders’ with extra say and power over the party.

Yes this will lead to messier politics. Has the last century of rank-and-file following leaders to a Progressive future worked out so well that you want MORE OF IT?

ajacksonian on March 14, 2012 at 7:14 AM

Told ya so.

kingsjester on March 14, 2012 at 7:22 AM

these exit polls keep saying one thing, people may like a certain candidate but the majority of these voters think romney is the man to beat obama

cmsinaz on March 14, 2012 at 7:13 AM

More like the feeling that the fix has been in for 3 years and Romney’s going to be the nominee by hook or by crook. If so many people were really convinced deep in their gut that Romney’s the guy to beat Obama, Mitt would’ve had this thing sewn up after January 31.

ddrintn on March 14, 2012 at 7:25 AM

To the bitter, little dKos rejects, calling themselves “Mitt supporters” from the NW corner of the Magnolia State:
PFFFFT!

kingsjester on March 14, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Rick Santorum says: I “will win the nomination before the convention.”

The man is bat-shit crazy.

mountainaires on March 14, 2012 at 7:12 AM

This. I know math is hard for just about everyone on TV these days but for Rick to get to 1144, he needs to win 81% of the remaining delegates.

Anonimo on March 14, 2012 at 7:32 AM

ddrintn on March 14, 2012 at 7:25 AM

point taken

cmsinaz on March 14, 2012 at 7:32 AM

At some point, Mitt and Rick both have to bridge their respective problems, Obama has to embrace his own and we need to get moving forward.

ted c on March 14, 2012 at 7:04 AM

Santorum and Romney will make peace at some point, they have too, for the good of the country both men are smart enough to see we’re much likelier to win if they merge their voters.. I don’t see either has to take the VP slot, but have a voice in who does.

It’s as likely to resolve itself quickly as not, despite all the dire forecasts of impending doom.

Rick and Mitt can walk away with a handshake and heal the party..

not so sure about many here, but imagine how well we’ll do with Mitt’s organization and Rick’s enthusiastic voters? It may not feed the fantasies of some here of seeing Rick crushed, but which is smarter?.. beating Obama or engaging in petty revenge?

Romney should be talking deal with Santorum.. he really should.

mark81150 on March 14, 2012 at 7:14 AM

I think you are on to something here, especially since this puts PA in play. Rick can campaign in the ‘T’ where he’s popular and has support and Mitt can GOTV in the Pitt/Philly urban and suburban areas.

Anonimo on March 14, 2012 at 7:35 AM

More like the feeling that the fix has been in for 3 years and Romney’s going to be the nominee by hook or by crook. If so many people were really convinced deep in their gut that Romney’s the guy to beat Obama, Mitt would’ve had this thing sewn up after January 31.

ddrintn on March 14, 2012 at 7:25 AM

If there will was a fix that was part of some big desire to wrap things up for Mitt as fast as possible then why didn’t RNC keep the 26 state, 1000 delegate Super Tuesday in early February? Having that many races at once all across the country is death for a shoestring campaign like Santorum; Romney could have overwhelmed the field with organization alone.

So if the fix for Republican insider elites was to hand it to Romney as fast as possible why did they write new rules that make it really hard for that to happen?

alchemist19 on March 14, 2012 at 7:37 AM

The man is bat-shit crazy.

mountainaires on March 14, 2012 at 7:12 AM

You have a flair for understatement. The way the race is going it is clear that Santo and Newt are staying in the race for one reason. They want to block Mitt. Neither has the slightest chance of winning. Newt knows that if he drops out he will help Santo, but he will help Mitt even more. Not because Mitt will get a larger share of his potential delegates, but because any rise in Mitt’s share makes him more likely to hit 1144 whereas a rise in Santo’s total brings him no closer to achieving what is impossible for him. There is no chance that Santo can get to that number and he knows it. So all that we’ve got are the dance of the ABRs playing their last, clumsy and desperate waltz.

MJBrutus on March 14, 2012 at 7:38 AM

i agree fellas. A handshake and say, “running mate?” offer is a wise idea at this point. Humility too.

ted c on March 14, 2012 at 7:38 AM

Romney should be talking deal with Santorum.. he really should.

mark81150 on March 14, 2012 at 7:14 AM

Job number one is defeating PBHO. I doubt that will ever happen, but if such were the price to bring it about, then I say yeah, do it now.

MJBrutus on March 14, 2012 at 7:40 AM

Based on the delegate count, its almost impossible for Santorum or Gingrich to win the nomination. But if they continue to soldier on, it is equally very difficult for Romney to get the required no. of delegates. Looks like a brokered convention, folks.

tommy71 on March 14, 2012 at 7:42 AM

Job number one is defeating PBHO. I doubt that DEAL (sic) will ever happen, but if such were the price to bring it about, then I say yeah, do it now.

MJBrutus on March 14, 2012 at 7:40 AM

Fixed to be clear.

MJBrutus on March 14, 2012 at 7:42 AM

Slightly surprised by this tbh but not really. If Oklahoma could break for Santorum there’s no reason two other conservative evangelical states would prefer the shifty-eyed Mormon cult leader from Taxachussetts.

Ann Coulter will cover this in her usual subtle way.

CorporatePiggy on March 14, 2012 at 7:45 AM

If there will was a fix that was part of some big desire to wrap things up for Mitt as fast as possible then why didn’t RNC keep the 26 state, 1000 delegate Super Tuesday in early February? Having that many races at once all across the country is death for a shoestring campaign like Santorum; Romney could have overwhelmed the field with organization alone.

I said the “feeling” that the fix was in. Groupthink and bandwagon stuff are the things that’s been keeping Romney at the forefront for 3 years now, not any sort of love for the guy as a candidate.

And the new system may actually be better. Why should we automatically hand the nomination to the guy with the most money?

You have a flair for understatement. The way the race is going it is clear that Santo and Newt are staying in the race for one reason. They want to block Mitt. Neither has the slightest chance of winning.

MJBrutus on March 14, 2012 at 7:38 AM

They’ve shown how absolutely weak Romney is. A divided opposition, and Romney still can’t close the deal. This guy has no chance against Obama. None.

ddrintn on March 14, 2012 at 7:47 AM

Well now, as we were saying perhaps the Rmoney campaign song quote can now be: “Money Can’t Buy Me Love”. It goes to show how very little money and a message that resonates with the American people goes a long way over sleazy politics-as-usual. Outspent 4 to 1 and comes in third, hmmm – perhaps Mr. Electability ain’t Mr. Electability as people take a better look. We want a candidate who is not just a 1-note drone but instead has a well-rounded message on the economy as well as other issues that are important to republicans as well as to all Americans. Thank you Alabama and Mississippi! Go Rick!

mozalf on March 14, 2012 at 7:48 AM

Again, the more Santorum wins the further behind he gets: Santorum delegates on March 13 = 35 (19 AL, 13 MS, 3 HI, 0 A.S.) while Romney delegates = 40 (11 AL, 12 MS, 8 HI, and 9 A.S.).

lhuffman34 on March 14, 2012 at 7:52 AM

Again, the geography at work here is striking.

antisense on March 14, 2012 at 7:55 AM

i agree fellas. A handshake and say, “running mate?” offer is a wise idea at this point. Humility too.
ted c on March 14, 2012 at 7:38 AM

2 white guys and a moving van won’t win in Nov- #2 slot has to have some appeal to women/ minorities. Or forget peeling away many swing voters.

FlaMurph on March 14, 2012 at 7:56 AM

And as worries the Rmoney camp and the RNC establishment, there’s more than 1 way to skin a cat. The American people are not lemmings. (Sorry for all the animal references but apropo here.)

mozalf on March 14, 2012 at 7:57 AM

It’s pretty clear here that Mitt Romney DOES NOT have the support of the geopolitical center of the Republican universe – i.e. THE SOUTH.

And … I really think the SOUTH – which is an area of the nation THAT GETS IT – an area where we’ve basically exterminated Democrats (here in Louisiana – we have TWO Democrats on Capital Hill – Mary Landrieu and the crook Congressman that represents New Orleans. Everyone else is Republican.

Even when I vote – it’s hard to spot a Democrat on the ballot anywhere. In 2010 there were more “No Party Affiliation” than there were Democrats.

The South is responsible for the GOP resurgence and you cannot possibly win a national election with a moderate, New England Republican whom the South has rejected.

MITT ROMNEYCARE – UNELECTABLE.

HondaV65 on March 14, 2012 at 8:02 AM

2 white guys and a moving van won’t win in Nov- #2 slot has to have some appeal to women/ minorities. Or forget peeling away many swing voters.

FlaMurph on March 14, 2012 at 7:56 AM

Screw swing voters. Worry about them after the convention. Right now we need to energize the GOP base.

HondaV65 on March 14, 2012 at 8:04 AM

Those of you who say there is going to be a brokered convention should look at the upcoming states and how the delegates are distributed. Romney will win most of the winner-take-all states and will get at least 35% of the proportional states. That will get him to 1144. Also, he did win the most delegates last night, so he increased his lead. You have to think of this like the electoral college-it’s not the number of states you win, but how many delegates you take from each state.

Ta111 on March 14, 2012 at 8:06 AM

santy nomination victory will produce such a electoral defeat in november, that will undercut social cons political ambitions for a long time.

nathor on March 14, 2012 at 6:01 AM

uh huh,.. they (the folks who hate social cons more than they ever did progressives) always always trumpet each election will be the death of social conservatives.. so they can get on with the business of depressing all moral standards, legalizing every vice, and otherwise promising utopia on Earth, if they can just stop some Christians from voting in any signifigant numbers..

Its not about that. There is no libertarian utopia, the same way there is no christian utopia. However, having a candidate that main difference in relation to obama, is to have social conservative views, those same views will end up being the center of the campaign and, you will see them rejected by a larger majority of the population. it will be a referendum on conservatives social issues and the defeat will have consequences.

You libertarians have no clue what we want, you keep building these strawmen to attack without ever producing a single policy plan or initiative that would turn America in your dreaded theocracy.

some might fear a theocracy. I think its an exaggeration… with a santorum presidency, we will head closer to this dreaded theocracy, but not much. my main beef with santorum is his hatred of libertarianism

Get over yourselves..

We’ll still be here in ten years, you libertarian types will go back to your bunkers and preach the end of the world survivalist nonsense, buy your gold, and go out back to burn more bibles… just to feel better..

burn bibles? you are confusing libertarians with atheists and even atheists dont do such things. I do want a better fiscal policy. and by the way, I am no survivalist…

Heavan forbid someone suggest that something might be immoral… that just makes Paul voters run to check their hemp plants to make sure they’re safe..

mark81150 on March 14, 2012 at 6:36 AM

now that IS a strawman.

nathor on March 14, 2012 at 8:07 AM

HondaV65 on March 14, 2012 at 8:04 AM

Screw Dixie. They’ll vote for who they’re given and like it. There is no chance of PBHO winning there so it is idiotic to lose voters elsewhere to pander to them.

MJBrutus on March 14, 2012 at 8:07 AM

Morning newsflash: Obama/Biden asking for donations because polls say they can’t beat Mitt Romney.

Buy Danish on March 14, 2012 at 8:09 AM

It’s funny watching the cable news shows, especially Fox, where guests and host trot out various names for winning in a brokered convention. They throw out all these different names, but always tread eggshells around that one little particular name. You can almost read their minds, each guest wondering if the other has the brass to say that name aloud. And none of them do.

Buckshot Bill on March 14, 2012 at 5:48 AM

I’m still hoping for a ‘CUDA d’etat.

Yup, I’ll say it, Sarah!

Fallon on March 14, 2012 at 8:10 AM

Man, quite a few panties in twist mode out there. Especially the media flunkies shilling for Rmoney. Like a bunch of spoiled brats whining that Rmoney is still the nominee because “we say so” but it’s driving them coo coo the American people beg to differ. As a matter of fact, a fighter and good looking guy with a message who is working hard to win and does win is much more appealing and electable than the rich, retread, arrogant (Rmoney, not Obama this time – but applies to both) candidate who voters in his own party doesn’t trust. Dick Morris is on Fox and Friends AGAIN looking kinda sick his boy came in 3rd. Message over money!

mozalf on March 14, 2012 at 8:10 AM

Romney is the big winner. There aren’t many southern states left and the influence of the Evangelicals has been so spent, so Santorum and Gingrich should just give in.

lhuffman34 on March 14, 2012 at 8:11 AM

*sigh* I’m a Newt woman, myself and I never thought I’d have to say this, but it’s over buddy. Pull out and endorse someone, or not. *sigh*

totherightofthem on March 14, 2012 at 8:13 AM

I think it is funny how some think Santorum is a strong southern candidate when he can only get 33-35% of the vote. Also, the important states to win in Nov aren’t the south-they will go R regardless of who the candidate is, it is Ohio and Florida. Clearly, Romney is the stronger candidate in the swing states we need to win.

Ta111 on March 14, 2012 at 8:17 AM

…much more appealing and electable than the rich, retread, arrogant…

mozalf on March 14, 2012 at 8:10 AM

Weren’t they saying this about that one guy in 1980 who was trailing the incumbent democrat by 35 points???

Anonimo on March 14, 2012 at 8:18 AM

Screw Dixie. They’ll vote for who they’re given and like it. There is no chance of PBHO winning there so it is idiotic to lose voters elsewhere to pander to them.

MJBrutus on March 14, 2012 at 8:07 AM

And I thought all the honest RINOs were extinct.

Well done Brutus.

CorporatePiggy on March 14, 2012 at 8:20 AM

Mitt spending all of his money, and still can’t beat Santorum.
The “anybody” but Mitt is real, Mitt’s only saving grace is that New is dividing the vote, otherwise it wouldn’t even be close.

right2bright on March 14, 2012 at 8:22 AM

CorporatePiggy on March 14, 2012 at 8:20 AM

Run out of Mormon slurs? Help me out here. Are all Mormon “cultists” “shifty-eyed” or just Mitt?

MJBrutus on March 14, 2012 at 8:23 AM

Clearly, Romney is the stronger candidate in the swing states we need to win.

Ta111 on March 14, 2012 at 8:17 AM

Only because he outspent by 10:1, a luxury he won’t have in the general.
His marketing is strong…his campaign is weak.

right2bright on March 14, 2012 at 8:24 AM

burn bibles? you are confusing libertarians with atheists and even atheists dont do such things. I do want a better fiscal policy. and by the way, I am no survivalist…

nathor on March 14, 2012 at 8:07 AM

Not atheists, libertines…

right2bright on March 14, 2012 at 8:27 AM

Are all Mormon “cultists” “shifty-eyed” or just Mitt?

I haven’t met all Mormons. And in truth Mormonism is of little concern to the electorate because it is not well understood.

What is more worrying is that Mormon or not, Romney does seem like a Shifty north-eastern elitist RINO. One can imagine him quoting you with your ‘screw Dixie’ line.

CorporatePiggy on March 14, 2012 at 8:29 AM

Screw Dixie. They’ll vote for who they’re given and like it. There is no chance of PBHO winning there so it is idiotic to lose voters elsewhere to pander to them.

MJBrutus on March 14, 2012 at 8:07 AM

No. We won’t. Still the same jerk you were when you landed here from Daily Kos, I see.

kingsjester on March 14, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Weren’t they saying this about that one guy in 1980 who was trailing the incumbent democrat by 35 points???

Anonimo on March 14, 2012 at 8:18 AM

Yeah, that scrappy Ronald Reagan dude who was too extreme, too religious, would never appeal to moderates or independents, too CONSERVATIVE! No it had to be the rich George H W Bush or Gerald Ford moderates. Plus Ronald Reagan was so far behind in delegates and would never catch up. Impossible! Plus, how would he even beat a lousy incumbent like Jimmy Carter?! It’s like history repeating itself.

mozalf on March 14, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Mitt spending all of his money, and still can’t beat Santorum.
The “anybody” but Mitt is real, Mitt’s only saving grace is that New is dividing the vote, otherwise it wouldn’t even be close.

right2bright on March 14, 2012 at 8:22 AM

Mitt has over 100 delegates more that Rick and Newt combined. You’re still going with that???

Anonimo on March 14, 2012 at 8:31 AM

MJBrutus on March 14, 2012 at 8:23 AM

Also the ‘screw the base’ idea is idiotic. Baroque had a narrow win in the last election by having his base operate literally 100% in lockstep with him. They worked their butts off for him, the little Marxists.

Everyone from Soros down to that little ratbag Kos was proclaiming the half-white Jesus and keeping the hype up. Even DooDad Pro came on board.

With the entire Dem base in his back pocket, the challenge was simplified – peel off a few deranged Republicans and a piece of the so-called ‘Independents’.

The Steve Schmidt strategy didn’t do all that well by comparison.

CorporatePiggy on March 14, 2012 at 8:33 AM

good morning folks…

A B O is what it is all about…not crazy for santorum at all but we must defeat dear leader…

another 4 years of his crapola, what will america look like?

cmsinaz on March 14, 2012 at 6:43 AM

+1000

conservative tarheel on March 14, 2012 at 8:34 AM

Screw Dixie. They’ll vote for who they’re given and like it. There is no chance of PBHO winning there so it is idiotic to lose voters elsewhere to pander to them.

MJBrutus on March 14, 2012 at 8:07 AM

No. We won’t. Still the same jerk you were when you landed here from Daily Kos, I see.

kingsjester on March 14, 2012 at 8:30 AM

McLame thought the same thing … worked out so well for him …..

conservative tarheel on March 14, 2012 at 8:36 AM

Mitt has over 100 delegates more that Rick and Newt combined. You’re still going with that???

Anonimo on March 14, 2012 at 8:31 AM

I guess you can’t read…Newt and Rick are dividing the vote.
Even with Mitt’s massive spending advantage, he barely wins, even in his “home” state.
When or if Wall Street and his lobbyists turn off the spigot, Mitt will take a dive.
If Mitt has a 10 times money advantage over Obama, than he has a chance…

right2bright on March 14, 2012 at 8:37 AM

DHChron on March 14, 2012 at 6:38 AM

Glad to note that your overriding value in this election is “butt sex.” Had you read my post endorsing Santorum, you would have read about my overriding values. And if Mommy had let you read Hot Air in 2010, you would have read my defenses of GOProud at CPAC that year.

You’ll probably read this after you get home from school, or maybe on the library computer. Don’t spill your chocolate milk.

Ed Morrissey on March 14, 2012 at 8:38 AM

Time to swallow your pride and get out, Newt. You and Santorum both know that the only way the non-Romney vote can beat Romney now is if you quit splitting it.

Decoski on March 14, 2012 at 8:39 AM

Run out of Mormon slurs? Help me out here. Are all Mormon “cultists” “shifty-eyed” or just Mitt?

MJBrutus on March 14, 2012 at 8:23 AM

Wouldn’t you know that a Mitt supporter brings out the “Mormon” card…

right2bright on March 14, 2012 at 8:39 AM

Mitt has over 100 delegates more that Rick and Newt combined. You’re still going with that???

Anonimo on March 14, 2012 at 8:31 AM

I guess you can’t read…Newt and Rick are dividing the vote.
Even with Mitt’s massive spending advantage, he barely wins, even in his “home” state.
When or if Wall Street and his lobbyists turn off the spigot, Mitt will take a dive.
If Mitt has a 10 times money advantage over Obama, than he has a chance…

right2bright on March 14, 2012 at 8:37 AM

Who can’t read? Mitt has over 100 delegates more than the next two COMBINED (added together, as in math, like “+”). Get it? How is splitting the vote changing things?

Anonimo on March 14, 2012 at 8:41 AM

2 white guys and a moving van won’t win in Nov- #2 slot has to have some appeal to women/ minorities. Or forget peeling away many swing voters.

FlaMurph on March 14, 2012 at 7:56 AM

Bullshit. Now it’s a crime to have two whites on a national ticket? And what are you talking about, most swing voters are white. I really don’t think their first priority these election season is making sure our ticket is UN-approved. Frankly, this is just stupid talk.

RepubChica on March 14, 2012 at 8:42 AM

Mitt spending all of his money, and still can’t beat Santorum.
The “anybody” but Mitt is real, Mitt’s only saving grace is that New is dividing the vote, otherwise it wouldn’t even be close.

right2bright on March 14, 2012 at 8:22 AM

Mitt has over 100 delegates more that Rick and Newt combined. You’re still going with that???

Anonimo

The Santy fans can’t see the writing on the wall and that Romney is the only one with the plan to win. Last nights tally, 34 delegates for Santy (18 in Bama, 11 in Miss, 1 in HW, and a goose egg in Amer Somoa), 40 (11 in Bama, 12 in Miss, 8 in Hawaii, and 9 in Am. Somoa) for Romney! So even when Santy has won, Romney has won more. Yet Santy keeps running his mouth about how he’ll win before the convention. Dude just can’t add.

Zaggs on March 14, 2012 at 8:43 AM

If Mitt gets the nomination, it will be because Newt didn’t get out fast enough…
They can all beat Obama, that’s the good news…now we have to pick the most conservative and the “strongest” fighter…and that is not
I won’t say anything bad” Mitt.

right2bright on March 14, 2012 at 8:43 AM

2 white guys and a moving van won’t win in Nov- #2 slot has to have some appeal to women/ minorities. Or forget peeling away many swing voters.

FlaMurph on March 14, 2012 at 7:56 AM

False. Obama has already lost the swing voters.

His approval is at 41%, which coincidentally is the number of his base.

fossten on March 14, 2012 at 8:43 AM

2 white guys and a moving van won’t win in Nov- #2 slot has to have some appeal to women/ minorities. Or forget peeling away many swing voters.

FlaMurph on March 14, 2012 at 7:56 AM

Bullshit. Now it’s a crime to have two whites on a national ticket? And what are you talking about, most swing voters are white. I really don’t think their first priority these election season is making sure our ticket is UN-approved. Frankly, this is just stupid talk.

RepubChica on March 14, 2012 at 8:42 AM

Yep, and we should reject this from creeping into GOP thinking. Let’s pick the best two guys, gals, blacks, whites, purples, … I don’t care. This PC crap is killing our country and our party.

Anonimo on March 14, 2012 at 8:44 AM

Looks like Mitt got the most delegates last night.
Romney matches Santorum’s delegate haul with wins in Hawaii, American Samoa caucuses
WASHINGTON — Rick Santorum won Republican presidential primaries in Alabama and Mississippi but he didn’t gain any ground in the race for delegates against frontrunner Mitt Romney.

Romney wiped out Santorum’s gains by winning caucuses in Hawaii and American Samoa Tuesday. For the day, Romney added at least 41 delegates and Santorum won at least 35. Newt Gingrich got at least 24 delegates and Ron Paul got at least 1. Nine delegates were still to be determined.

V7_Sport on March 14, 2012 at 8:46 AM

Zaggs on March 14, 2012 at 8:43 AM

And you Mitt supporters can’t see the obvious, the “anyone but Mitt” is real, and it’s for a reason.
He has lost every race he has ever entered, except the one where he ran as a liberal.
He has massive money, we get that, he has acculturated huge pac money from Wall Street, from lobbyists, he is a great fund raiser and money maker.
But without Newt in the race, he would not be even considered, except by Samoan’s.
Samoa, Hawaii, Guam, all Mormon enclaves…

right2bright on March 14, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Well now, as we were saying perhaps the Rmoney campaign song quote can now be: “Money Can’t Buy Me Love”.

mozalf on March 14, 2012 at 7:48 AM

Oops. I almost corrected what I thought was a typo Romney/Rmoney but I just caught it. Yeah, I’m a little slow this morning, lol.

Unfortunately, states like Illinois, where money talks and principles walk, are coming up. We’ll see if this goes to the convention.

Fallon on March 14, 2012 at 8:48 AM

The bible thumpers are killing the GOP. And to be blunt, having MS and AL in your portfolio doesn’t say much.

aniptofar on March 14, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Just an observation. What is this crap about calling the candidates with their first name?

mnjg on March 14, 2012 at 8:51 AM

And you Mitt supporters can’t see the obvious, the “anyone but Mitt” is real, and it’s for a reason.
He has lost every race he has ever entered, except the one where he ran as a liberal.
right2bright on March 14, 2012 at 8:47 AM

He has twice as many delegates as the next guy. Romney is the only one who can beat Obama.

V7_Sport on March 14, 2012 at 8:52 AM

Hmmm, seems to me from the logic being thrown around here against Santorum and Gingrich, now that the dynamics are seriously changing in this race, that it’s not the slam-dunk for Rmoney that we were supposed to swallow from the get-go and that Rmoney may not actually get all the delegates he needs, why do Rick or Newt need to drop out first? Maybe he should do the right thing for the party and bow out since it’s more than obvious there is a strong dislike and distrust of him among republicans and he’s not going over well. The playing field is evening out and what’s good for the goose as they say. Just a thought…

mozalf on March 14, 2012 at 8:53 AM

right2bright on March 14, 2012 at 8:47 AM

And how can anyone without a lot of financial backing to establish a national campaign beat the won in November? This shoestring campaign stuff is a nice story in March, but its a fatal flaw in the general. I would love to see a candidate with lots of money and national recognition running to the right of Mitt, but it didn’t happen. The GOP better get with the program that he’s our best bet to win and we’ll need to control him from the right by taking the Senate and strengthening the House majority. My experience is that you can do this with financial conservatives, less so with social moderates.

Anonimo on March 14, 2012 at 8:54 AM

And you Mitt supporters can’t see the obvious, the “anyone but Mitt” is real, and it’s for a reason.
He has lost every race he has ever entered, except the one where he ran as a liberal.
He has massive money, we get that, he has acculturated huge pac money from Wall Street, from lobbyists, he is a great fund raiser and money maker.
But without Newt in the race, he would not be even considered, except by Samoan’s.
Samoa, Hawaii, Guam, all Mormon enclaves…

right2bright

Its not just about the money. Thats just what the Santy fans (and Santy) whine about. Seriously, crap is getting old. You think Obambi is going to spend on a 1 to 1 ratio? If Santorum can’t hang with Romney spending now, he’s get destroyed in the general.
Its about the fact Romney is playing the whole board while Santy goes for sound bites. “We’re going to win this nomination before the convention”, because he lost by 6 last night? Fact is Romney just has to do better than 25% in the south, and he has. All the “NotRomney” movement has left is to pick the first loser.

Zaggs on March 14, 2012 at 8:55 AM

Just an observation. What is this crap about calling the candidates with their first name?

mnjg on March 14, 2012 at 8:51 AM

b/c their last names are longer? (typing is hard…) I miss B-U-S-H ;-)

Anonimo on March 14, 2012 at 8:56 AM

Anonimo on March 14, 2012 at 8:54 AM

Bible Thumpers Christians) make up 78% of the country’s population, per Gallup.

Care to re-state that?

kingsjester on March 14, 2012 at 9:00 AM

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