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Romney emerges unscathed from first New Hampshire debate

If the challengers for the Republican nomination for President hoped to derail the Mitt Romney express at the first of two debates before next Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary they got switched to a siding. Romney, leading all polls by a comfortable margin in the Granite State, sailed through the debate on cruise control, looking comfortable while his challengers spent as much time attacking each other as him. A panel of New Hampshire voters assembled by Capitol Hill Blue agreed, for the most part, that Romney emerged a clear winner from the debate. “He appeared Presidential,” said Andrea Wilson. “The others
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Romney opens up big lead in South Carolina

Uh. Oh. Bad news for the “Occupy Mitt Romney” movement.  The candidate who is supposed to be in trouble after a close call in Iowa still holds a huge lead in New Hampshire and has surged to a “major lead” in South Carolina. A new CNN/Time magazine poll shows Romney’s support down South climbed 17 percentage points in the last month — up to 37 percent and a 20 point lead over second place Rick Santorum. Not a bad showing for a candidate who all but ignored South Carolina until recently.  After picking up the endorsement of Gov. Nikki Haley
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Santorum’s homophobia doesn’t play well in New Hampshire

GOP Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum‘s homophobia may play well in Iowa but it ran head on into the boo birds in Concord, New Hampshire. Trying to defend his anti-homosexual agenda and even equating it with polygamy, Santroum faced hoots, boos and catcalls from a gay-friendly crowd at the New England College Convention. A female student asked Santorum about his anti-gay stance: “How can you justify your belief, based on these morals that you have about all men being created equal when two men who want to marry can’t?” Shot back Santorum: “How about three men?  If reason says that if
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Nasty Newt is back, but will anybody care?

A petulant, whiny Newt Gingrich is turning up the heat on GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney. The kinder, gentler Newt is gone, replaced by an old familiar Newt — the vicious attack dog who goes for the jugular and takes no prisoners. After vowing to keep his campaign for the Presidency positive — something you can only do when you’re leading the pack — New Newt has become Nasty Newt with angry bile spewing at every term. Romney, Nasty Newt says, is a liar, hiding behind a super-pac that “Romney boated” him with ads about his record, his infidelity and
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Rick Santorum’s questionable conservative credentials

Republican conservatives — eager to find anyone but Mitt Romney to support — need to take a closer look at new flavor of the month Rick Santorum before deciding he is the salvation of the party’s rigid right wing. Santorum talks the right wing talk but he doesn’t walk it. In Congress, Santorum came under heavy criticism for lavish pork barrel for his Pennsylvania.  As a Congressman for four years and a Senator for another 12, Santorum diverted billions of taxpayer funds for lavish — often unnecessary projects — for his home state. “Calling Rick Santorum a conservative is a
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Santorum under scrutiny for ethical lapses

It didn’t take long. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum came within eight votes of winning the Iowa caucuses Tuesday and by Wednesday he faced questions about ethical lapses during his time in Congress. Santorum came under scrutiny after he received a preferred mortgage from a bank run by campaign donors, engineering the diversion of federal funds to a real estate developer who contributed heavily to the Senator’s charity and sponsored an $8 million pork barrel bill for another top donor to the charity. Says former federal prosecutor Melanie Sloan, who filed ethics complaints against Santorum in 2006: There were several
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Bachmann drops out, Perry stays…for now

After a night of disappointments for Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann in the Iowa caucuses, it looked like Perry was ready to quit but Bachmann would stick it out. But just the opposite happened. Bachmann dropped her GOP Presidential bid Wednesday morning and Perry — after flying home to Texas — said he would resume his campaign in South Carolina. Perry told his dwindling cadre of followers that he needs to “determine whether there is a path forward.” “There is no path forward,” a disheartened strategist for Perry told Capitol Hill Blue. “It’s over.” But it
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What now for Ron Paul?

Ron Paul‘s Presidential campaign bumped up against a ceiling of limited support in Iowa Tuesday — a wall that usually sinks fringe attempts at national elected office. Campaign aides tried to put on a confident public face but the Texas Congressman’s third place finish is not what they wanted or predicted in the days leading up to the first Presidential primary of 2012. They point to John McCain‘s third place finish in Iowa in 2008 and draw comparisons to McCain’s surge to the front and the nomination. They note that Paul — with 21 percent compared with 25 percent for
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Bitter Gingrich attacks Romney, Paul before fleeing Iowa

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich left Iowa a bitter man after a dismal fourth place finish in the Iowa GOP primary caucuses. He clearly blames frontrunner Mitt Romney for his loss, telling anyone who will listen that Romney is a liar behind a barrage of brutal negative ads that portrayed the one-time GOP star as a money-grubbing, wife-cheating philanderer. Fewer than 100 showed up to hear Gingrich’s final speech before he fled Iowa. “The Speaker is down but he’s not out,” a campaign aide told Capitol Hill Blue. But before he exited, stage right, Gingrich attacked Iowa winner
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Romney edges Santorum by just eight votes in Iowa

Iowa’s caucus system often provides surprises and delivered another in spades Tuesday with a close Republican primary contest that wasn’t decided until the last votes were counted in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum surged at exactly the right time for his struggling campaign, coming within eight votes of knocking off former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Romney’s win sends him to next week’s New Hampshire primary as the candidate to beat but Santroum’s emergence as the choice for GOP conservatives sets up a possible crucial showdown in South Carolina later this month. “Santorum’s showing reshapes
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