Republican Race Wide Open

After three contests with three different winners, it’s wide open in the race to choose a Republican nominee.

And in the process, the campaign of Newt Gingrich has gained new life.

Newt Gingrich resurrected his campaign Saturday with a stunning victory in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary, leveraging strong debate performances and a handful of wrong turns for Mitt Romney to surge past the former frontrunner and reset the race which is now headed for Florida.

After claiming his first primary win, the former House speaker rallied supporters on the road to the next contest on Jan. 31. Gingrich, looking to convey the image of a general election candidate, focused his victory speech almost entirely on President Obama, unloading some of his toughest criticism to date on the White House incumbent.

“He makes Jimmy Carter look strong,” Gingrich quipped at the close of his speech.

Gingrich faces organizational challenges going forward, but he said Saturday: “We don’t have the kind of money at least one of the candidates has, but we do have ideas and we do have people.”

Gingrich locked up a decisive victory in the state. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Gingrich pulled in 41 percent of the vote, to Romney’s 27 percent.

Rick Santorum finished in third with 17 percent, followed by Ron Paul with 13 percent.

What a difference a week makes in the world of politics.

The leader board virtually ensures a drawn-out Republican race, a turnaround from just a week ago when Romney seemed poised to clinch the nomination in short order.

Romney, at his post-election rally in South Carolina, acknowledged that he sees a “long primary season” ahead and vowed to put up a stiff fight.

“I’ll keep fighting for every single vote. I will compete in every single state,” Romney said.

Gingrich surged to win South Carolina after what was arguably the most eventful week of the primary season. Rick Perry dropped out of the race Thursday, throwing his support behind Gingrich. The Iowa Republican Party dropped the surprise announcement that Santorum, and not Romney, had actually won the Iowa caucuses. And Romney found himself repeatedly struggling to answer questions — pushed by the Gingrich campaign and echoed in the media — about why he’s not releasing his tax returns before April. Meanwhile, Gingrich was able to deflect questions about allegations from his second wife that he once sought an “open marriage.”

His scorching answer at Thursday’s debate to a question on the subject may have even helped improve his standing ahead of the South Carolina vote.

While the Republican establishment may have wanted things to be wrapped up by now, tonight’s results are great for the American people who should be the one’s choosing the Republican nominee.

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Santorum “Certified Winner” in Iowa

The “split decision” in Iowa didn’t last long.  Rick Santorum has been certified the winner of the Iowa caucus.

, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

Image via Wikipedia

“In order to clarify conflicting reports and to affirm the results released January 18 by the Republican Party of Iowa, Chairman Matthew Strawn and the State Central Committee declared Senator Rick Santorum the winner of the 2012 Iowa Caucus,” the state GOP’s statement read.

The news is a blow to the campaign of Mitt Romney.

The news that Romney — who for two weeks celebrated what he jokingly called a ‘landslide’ eight-vote victory in Iowa, only to see it reversed this week when the state GOP certified Santorum the leader by 34 votes — officially lost the first contest muddies his narrative, especially as Newt Gingrich surges in the polls in South Carolina.

Basically instead of possibly going three for three in the early voting states, the candidate of the Republican establishment is on the verge of going one for three.  It also means that the race to become the Republican nominee for President is wide open.

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Santorum Real Debate Winner

While all the talk is about how Newt Gingrich schooled CNN moderator John King in last night’s debate, some interesting reasoning on how Rick Santorum was the real winner of the debate.

, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

Image via Wikipedia

If I were a conservative Republican in South Carolina and Thursday night’s debate was the first I’d watched during this primary season, the choice would be easy. Rick Santorum. I know: It surprised me, too.

While he might have fewer overall followers than the other three candidates, Santorum nonetheless (or because of this) debated flawlessly. It was the single most impressive debate performance in this long series from any of the candidates.

Newt Gingrich also had his moments, pulling out whatever “go-to” trick in his arsenal the moment required. But on the issues, and for conservative Republican South Carolina voters, Santorum was the one running on all cylinders.

So why, despite trailing in the polls, did Rick Santorum win?

First, nobody was attacking him. He had a free roll. So in this case, it paid for Santorum to be last in the polls. He attacked Mitt Romney and Gingrich and was never put on his heels by his opponents. With no predators in sight, Santorum dominated the environment like an Asian carp.

Second, his criticisms were focused and covered important conservative issues. He hammered away on health care at both Romney. (At one point Romney actually made the error of calling his own plan “Romneycare.” Next thing you know he will accidentally call it “Obamneycare.”) And then Santorum laid into Gingrich on individual mandates, which the former House speaker supported for 10 years.

More than once, Santorum drove home the notion that Gingrich is a loose cannon and Republicans can’t afford that in a nominee. He flatly stated that Gingrich has “no discipline.” Gingrich had suggested earlier that Santorum should drop out of the race. “These are not cogent thoughts,” Santorum responded in the debate, reminding the audience that he is “2 and 0” against Gingrich in both Iowa and New Hampshire, and with much less money.

Finally, Santorum did a good job presenting his own ideas — zero taxes for manufacturing corporations, his anti-abortion stance — and his closing remarks were right on the mark. In them, he talked about his electability over President Barack Obama. He went point by point describing his differences with Obama on health care and bailouts — reminding the audience not so subtly that Romney and Gingrich supported the bailouts. Santorum concluded by saying he was the only Republican on stage ever to beat an incumbent Democrat.

So will it translate to votes for Rick Santorum?

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Bold Solutions for American Families

Some interesting and bold solutions from Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum.

, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

Image via Wikipedia

I am excited about America and her future. In this election the American people have an opportunity to restore her greatness and to focus once again on protecting liberty and creating opportunity for all. No longer should it be harder for people to succeed economically than it was for their parents. No longer should upward mobility be better in parts of Europe than in America. We need a renewed focus on creating opportunity, not dividing Americans by class; on creating wealth, not distributing it; and on promoting savings rather than dependency.
This is what my father and grandfather came to America for. This is our time to reclaim it. In contrast, Obamanomics has brought one in six Americans to poverty. President Obama’s philosophy of “spreading the wealth” in fact spreads poverty and economic decline.
I have a bold economic plan that will move our country forward — a plan that will create jobs, renew confidence in the free-market place and reward families for their hard work. My plan will cut spending and ensure future fiscal responsibility through a balanced budget amendment; lower and simplify taxes for families and businesses to promote growth; return federal programs to the states to promote freedom; and promote sustainable health-care and retirement solutions for young people and seniors.

Here are some specifics on what Rick Santorum would do.

First, I will cut spending by $5 trillion over 5 years, repeal ObamaCare and other onerous regulations and cut non-defense spending to 2008 levels. I support legislation to prevent members of Congress from being paid if they don’t pass fiscally responsible spending bills on time. We will pass a balanced budget amendment to discipline Congress and limit federal spending to a maximum of 18 percent of gross domestic product. I will eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s federal housing role, reduce non-defense related federal workers by at least 10 percent and eliminate all energy and most agriculture subsidies. We will unleash America’s domestic-energy production.
Second, I will lower personal income and corporate tax rates and dramatically simplify the tax code for families, workers and businesses. To promote marriage, families and the high calling of parenting, I will triple the child deduction and eliminate all marriage tax penalties. The family is the foundation of our country. We need to have an economic policy that supports families and freedom and encourages marriage.

He makes a great point at the end of his editorial.

I don’t believe that poverty is a permanent condition. How do we effectively address poverty in rural and urban America? We promote jobs, marriage, quality education and access to capital and embrace the supports of civil society. I believe in equality of opportunity. I believe that American entrepreneurs and business owners create jobs and that skilled and committed workers sustain them, not government.

Head over to the source to read the rest of Rick Santorum’s bold solutions.

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