Now that Mitt Romney has taken New Hampshire, is the Republican nomination wrapped up? Michael Tomasky, Michelle Goldberg, and more Daily Beast contributors weigh in.
Mitt Romney Wins Big in Capturing the New Hampshire Primary
By Howard Kurtz
For all the pregame chatter about what number Romney had to hit to avoid the dreaded verdict of underperforming expectations, major news organizations quickly called for the former Massachusetts governor to capture the state by double digits, with a projected 36 percent of the vote. Romney’s win was all the more striking because he’s had a terrible few days, battered by his rivals as a heartless corporate chieftain at Bain Capital and blundering by declaring that he likes to fire people (though his remarks were wrenched out of context).
Frontrunners have flashed across the Republican sky all year, but there is no spinning the fact that Romney has now won the first two contests (with an eight-vote spread in the first one, to be sure) and is the overwhelming favorite to take on President Obama in November.
Romney won virtually every major demographic—with the notable exceptions of independent voters, young voters, and people making under $30,000 a year—all of whom were captured by second-place finisher Ron Paul. For example, Romney won Catholic voters despite running against two Catholic candidates, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. He won evangelical voters. Romney even won Tea Party supporters, despite the long-simmering distrust over what his detractors call RomneyCare.
5 Thoughts on New Hampshire
By Michael Tomasky
1. Mitt Romney is obviously going to be the nominee. But this is not a strong showing. The average percentage for a New Hampshire winner is 39 percent, which is exactly where Romney sits with 89 percent of precincts reporting. And that's with him owning a house in the state! True, he leaves New Hampshire in a strong position, undeniably. But this is not an impressive number.
By Michelle Goldberg
There is no more contest for the Republican nomination. The truth is, there hasn’t been for a while now, though pundits have been loath to admit it. Mitt Romney is gliding to victory despite the fact that he is widely disliked by the grassroots of the party that is about to nominate him, because conservatives have failed rather spectacularly to come up with a credible alternative.
It’s as if Democrats had been forced to nominate Joe Lieberman in 2004 because the only other candidates were Cynthia McKinney, Dennis Kucinich, and Ralph Nader.
The Big Speech Ron Paul Ought to Give
By Michael Medved
“My fellow Americans: the movement for change that's taken shape with my campaign is too important and too promising to allow its distraction or destruction by persistent misunderstandings concerning some of my own past mistakes.
I therefore come before you tonight to confront four tough questions relentlessly raised by my critics—serious challenges that rightly trouble many patriotic citizens who otherwise share the values of liberty and limited government that have always animated my career.
1. First, I need not only to disavow but unequivocally to condemn the outrageous racially tinged comments that appeared in a series of Ron Paul newsletters sent out to subscribers some 20 years ago.
Ron Paul: Still a Bunco Artist
By David Frum
It's sad and squalid that Ron Paul finished ahead of Jon Huntsman. Gov. Huntsman has the elements of a president; Ron Paul is not even a fanatic. He's a bunco artist. May I repeat something I've said about him before?
Ron Paul is something more (or less) than a racist crank.
Jon Huntsman: Down But Not Out in Third Place
By Patricia Murphy
Seven months after putting all of his campaign hopes on New Hampshire, Jon Huntsman finished with 17 percent of the vote on the way to a third-place finish in the Granite State.
Making it into the top three was a major improvement for Huntsman, who had polled in the single digits until just last week. But it was a disappointment to his supporters who had hoped his recent upward trajectory would provide a Bill Clinton–esque "Comeback Kid" moment for the former Utah governor.
Mitt Romney’s Charmless Win
By Paul Begala
You gotta hand it to the Mittbot 3.0. With all the charisma of a foreclosure agent and all the charm of a calculator, Mitt Romney rolled to a win in New Hampshire, a state in which one of Mitt's many mansions sits—and right next door to Massachusetts.
Given those advantages, Romney looks weak even when he wins. Sure, he managed to surpass his 2008 total in New Hampshire (75,546 votes). But look at his competition this time! The field is so weak it would make a lame old plowhorse look like Secretariat. None of Romney's opponents ran a significant number of negative ads against him in New Hampshire. It's pretty easy to look bulletproof when your enemies are shooting blanks.
After New Hampshire, Which GOP Candidate Will Bail Next?
By Allison Yarrow
With Romney blowing away his rivals in the Granite State, will any candidate follow Bachmann’s post-Iowa example and drop out? Initial reports say no, but that could change quickly. Allison Yarrow sizes up the field.
Inside Newt Gingrich’s Sad New Hampshire Primary Night Party
By Lloyd Grove
By the time reality intruded on Newt Gingrich’s New Hampshire primary campaign, it was already too late.
His operatives had spent precious resources for Tuesday’s election-night celebration to hire Tuxedo Junction, a bar mitzvah and wedding band, and book a cavernous ballroom at the Radisson Manchester that proved about four times too large for the number of partygoers. They included dozens of Gingrich supporters, to be sure, but also a fair amount of folks who voted for rival Republican presidential candidates, as well as political tourists from out of state, random hotel guests, and even a former chairman of the state Democratic Party.
Mitt Romney used his New Hampshire victory speech to preview the line of attack he’ll pursue against President Obama this fall. Boy, was it dull.
Romney’s basic claim is that Obama doesn’t believe in American greatness, and he does. If that sounds familiar, that’s because it’s been the basic Republican template since Ronald Reagan ran against Jimmy Carter. Democrats apologize for America, belittle America, Europeanize America while Republicans believe that as long as Americans remember their greatness and retain their optimism, everything will turn out fine.