The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

The Iowa Caucuses: Two Ricks Enter, One Rick Leaves


Hey, guess what today’s Morning Jolt is all about?


The night’s big surprise winner: Rick Santorum.

The first words of his victory speech: “Game on.”

Our man Robert Costa was in the room during that speech. Among his first observations: “Shorter Santorum: blue collar, blue collar, boo ‘supply side’ conservatives . . . This race is now ‘son of a coal miner’ versus son of Michigan privilege; the scrappy PA attorney vs wealthy consultant. Class, suddenly, is back.”

Robert George was impressed: “I’m not a Rick Santorum fan, but this is a really remarkable speech. Brought personal story back to current economic/social problems.”

Jonathan Martin: “ ‘What motivates me: the dignity of every human life’ — Santorum, with a soundbite that will open a LOT of wallets in the next 24 hours.”

Former Hillary Clinton blog guy Peter Daou complimented the surprise winner (with 98 percent of the precincts reporting): “I vehemently disagree with just about every single Santorum position, but I like that tireless door-to-door campaigning trumped media hype.”

The struggling candidate, former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, declared, “that’s it. I’m buying a sweater vest.”

Not everyone was thrilled with this turn of events. Ace at Ace of Spades laments, “I guess the important thing is that he’s super-super socially conservative. Because that’s what the nation craves.”

Rick Perry, Ready to Ride Off into the Sunset?

In addition to ending Pawlenty’s presidential dreams, Iowa also is the state that appears to have finished off Rick Perry’s presidential campaign. He offered one of the late surprises of the night by declaring after “prayer and reflection,” he will return to Texas to consider his next steps.

Drew M. observes, “Perry is going home to reassess. Like I said with Cain . . . the reassessment is never ‘Let’s do this thing!’”

“Classy and thoughtful speech by Perry. If he drops out, real chance the race in SC changes,” concludes Nathan Wurtzel. Phil Klein of the Washington Examiner reminds us that Perry was supposed to go to South Carolina tomorrow.

The great Sean Trende sees the anti-Romney vote coalescing. “Well, that wasn’t what Romney was hoping for. Looks like Perry might be hanging up his spurs.”

But Gary Karr sees the opposite effect: “Hard to see how Perry dropping out helps anyone but Romney.” Patrick Ruffini sees the same impact: “Perry drop could also collapse the anti-Romney faction. No one else has the money + enthusiasm combo to beat him.”

“Perry would be a fool not to stick it out to South Carolina,” exclaims S. E. Cupp.

Josh Trevino was one of Perry’s biggest boosters on Twitter, and he was, as one would expect, supremely displeased with this turn of events: “Wow, good thing y’all saved us from Gardasil and in-state tuition. So we could have this night. Good work guys . . . Thank God conservatives came together to make sure Barack Obama wouldn’t have to face the Texas record of job creation. Well done everyone!”

“Perry joins Wes Clark and Fred Thompson on the sidelines as highly touted, late entrants who totally flamed out,” concludes Chris Cillizza.

Tags: Rick Perry , Rick Santorum


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