Tuesday, 10 January 2012

New Hampshire: Romney Wins, Paul Second

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RomneyFormer Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary January 10 with 38 percent of the vote, and Texas Congressman Ron Paul placed a strong second with 23 percent (with 78 percent of the precincts reporting).

"The president has run out of ideas," Romney said in his victory speech. "Now he's running out of excuses. And tonight, we're asking the good people of South Carolina to join the citizens of New Hampshire and make 2012 the year he runs out of time."

"He had a victory," Ron Paul said of Romney. Regarding his own second-place showing, Paul said, "We had a victory for the cause of liberty tonight."

Paul's speech had a different substance than Romney's partisan speech. Paul focused upon ideas in his talk. "I sort of have to chuckle when they describe you and me as being dangerous," Paul told his supporters. "We are dangerous to the status quo in this country. And we will remain a danger to the Federal Reserve system as well." The mostly young audience broke out in loud chants of "End the Fed! End the Fed!" Paul had predicted the housing and financial crisis as early as 2001, and warned that the United States was currently in the midst of a currency crisis.

Paul stressed his opposition to America's foreign wars, saying of American soldiers that "it's the time to bring them home." Perhaps partly because of his foreign policy stand, Rep. Paul has taken in more donations from those in active duty military than all of the other Republican candidates combined.

Jon Huntsman, who put the entire focus of his campaign on New Hampshire, came in third place with 17 percent of the vote. "I think we're in the hunt," "I'd say third place is a ticket to ride, ladies and gentlemen. Hello, South Carolina!"

Exit polls in New Hampshire matched the results from the Iowa caucus entrance polls, with Ron Paul running away with votes from independents, young voters and first-time GOP primary voters, while Mitt Romney handily won voters over 65 years old and veteran GOP voters.

Interestingly, while Paul is touted by most establishment organs as unelectable, he has campaign demographics that mimic Barack Obama's winning electoral campaign in 2008.

Young voters under 30 voted for Obama over John McCain by a 61 percent to 39 percent margin in the 2008 election, according to Gallup. Independent voters, who had traditionally voted Republican, swung to Obama 51-49 in an election that ended in an Obama win by a 53-46 percent popular vote victory.

In short, Obama won because he expanded his party's base by bringing in first-time voters and independents to his campaign. This created the first national election where a Democrat won more than 50 percent of the popular vote since Jimmy Carter in 1976 (Bill Clinton won the presidency twice for the Democrats with less than 50 percent of the popular vote, winning a plurality in races with strong third party candidacies).

The presidential race now moves to South Carolina, where frontrunner Mitt Romney is not expected to be as strong and will face millions of dollars in negative advertisements from a Newt Gingrich-affiliated SuperPac.

Photo of Mitt Romney: AP Images

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