He seemed purposeful in his desire to say nice things about both opponents and to pledge to carry the conservative philosophy forward. He is not a natural frontrunner, and he acknowledged as much. But, there is really no one else left standing who poses a threat. He will need more Haley Barbours to step forward and call for party unity, but he began the process tonight. (Yes, a California win would likely seal the deal for him. Check back Thursday — no kidding — for the final results.)
Posts For: February 5, 2008
Is it possible that Barack Obama is already sounding like a tired knockoff of…the Barack Obama who gave such a stunning speech two weeks ago?
…Will Huckabee salute back?
This issue has had a perfect record of irrelevance. Not a single state turned on this supposedly critical issue. Indeed, McCain, the immigration reform advocate, won Florida on the strength of his appeal to Hispanics. (He tied Romney among White voters.) But the same folks who spent weeks railing against McCain will, I am certain, continue to argue that this is the winning issue for Republicans who oppose comprehenisve immigration reform.
…the exit polls are disastrous. They had McCain in a tie in Arizona. He’s won the state by 20 points. It was the exit polls that said McCain was in trouble in Arizona because of his stand on immigration. This suggests the polltakers were once again taken in by partisans who eagerly sought them out to skew the exits their way. Or that the poll takers were themselves in on it.
McCain ekes out a win in Arizona and Huckabee takes Tennessee and Georgia. Huckabee has five states now, entirely respectable but all in the South. Did he earn the VP slot tonight? UPDATE: “Eke” it actually was not– he leads by 20 pts. Those exit poll, as John has warned, aren’t all that reliable. (They showed a tie in the state.)
His wife looks shell shocked, he says the campaign is going on but he then reminds us the states he won were the places he lived. It all has the air of unreality. He does not give the “I’m the one true conservative” pitch. He talks in broad generalities about keeping America great and strong. He lists the great GOP presidents, again leaving out the current one. (This sounds like the Michigan and Florida Romney, not the Iowa and Super Tuesday Romney.) He does get around to that great vote-getting issue (not) : illegal immigration. He is in essence giving his bland stump speech reciting all the things Washington has not done, the point of which is not entirely clear. ( I do give McCain credit for not bumping him off the air, as Romney did to McCain in Iowa and Rudy in Florida.)
Ann Romney couldn’t look more over it. Mitt, once again, seems more like an anchor reporting on the Mitt Romney campaign than the man who’s in the middle of it. Even his message “They haven’t” is in the third person. When he goes for the emotional note it comes across as pleading.
“The three places we’ve lived voted for us — Massachusetts, Michigan, and Utah.” That’s not a good thing for Romney to say. Makes him look weak. Maybe he fills an inside straight later tonight and stays in. But the fact he spoke such an elegaic, nostalgic sentence tells me Romney thinks he’s probably out tomorrow.
So saith Mitt Romney. His campaign staff thanks him profusely. They will be paid for a few more weeks while they feverishly look for jobs.
…Looks like Mike Huckabee might have been inspired by Tom Petty’s halftime performance. If his speech in Arkansas is sincere, he “won’t back down.”
So much for my theory that Huckabee would turn his Super Tuesday successes over Romney into a face-saving, vice-presidential-nomination-pursuing, exit-in-strength strategy. That is, unless he’s waiting for Romney to exit first, thereby remaining in the race to block for McCain until California likely determines Romney’s fate.
Haley Barbour, Governor of Mississippi and former GOP Chairman, in the nicest way possible said that Romney is having a bad night and soon it will be time to get behind the winner. Barbour said he could enthusiastically support any of the contenders, even if “none of them are as conservative as I am.”
Mike Huckabee has just riffed on songs representing all the states in which he is still competitive tonight. It was a pure improv, and very impressive, even if corny.
In Little Rock, he announces: “A lot of people have been trying to say this is a two man race. It is and we’re in it!” Hard to argue, unless the rest of the night takes a very different turn.
Bill Kristol reminds viewers that Romney is running third throughout the South and a candidate who offers himself as the conservative alternative who runs so poorly there “does not have a path to the nomination.”
A series of tornadoes has hit the Midwest, with serious damage reported in Arkansas and Tennessee, including casualties. Expect this to dampen the enthusiasm of any forthcoming victory speeches.
Even the Fox panel seem puzzled that Hillary Clinton could be winning the night. Reporters, even conservative ones, buy into the Oprah-Kennedy YWC ( “Yes, we can”) festival and are surprised when Clinton’s underlying strength comes through.
In actual returns McCain leads in Montana, Tennessee and Oklahoma. They have not been called for him, but if they fall into his lap it will begin to look like a national victory with Huckabee as a regional, Deep South candidate. And yes, stay tuned (or set your alarm) for California. UPDATE: McCain wins Oklahoma.
Was Obama the first political casualty of the Superbowl? Going into Massachusetts he (supposedly) had a slight lead. What happened? Were all the young Patriots fans too demoralized to leave their homes and vote for their man?
…win a primary in a state he never lived in?