1. INEVITABLE?

    GOP Elite: Romney Hard to Stop Now

    Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney arrives to speak during his caucus night rally following republican caucuses in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 3, 2012. The first vote of the 2012 battle for the White House headed late Tuesday for a nail-biter finish as Iowans picked a Republican standard-bearer to take on President Barack Obama in November. With nearly nine in 10 of Iowa caucus ballots tallied, just a handful of votes separated frontrunner Mitt Romney and surging social conservative Rick Santorum, with veteran Representative Ron Paul hot on their heels. AFP Photo/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

    Jewel Samad, AFP / Getty Images

    Mitt Romney was never supposed to win Iowa. For months, the political pundits kept reminding us that conservative evangelicals couldn’t vote for a Mormon former governor of Massachusetts who flip-flopped more times than John Kerry. But Romney eked out an eight-vote win on Tuesday, besting a field that had taken turns overshadowing him in the polls. And now John McCain’s endorsed the candidate. With Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich staying in the race until South Carolina—thus sapping conservative support for Rick Santorum—and Romney’s campaign finances strong, GOP elites tell Politico that the nomination is all but guaranteed. One former House Republican said, “I sort of think it’s over, right?” He added that South Carolina and Florida will be the “nails in the coffin” in clinching the nomination, just like they were for McCain.

    Read it at Politico