All day today I’ll be semi live blogging about the New Hampshire Primary and the GOP 2012 nomination in general. All times are EST.
11:25 – Another night, another claim that Obama is going to somehow fundamentally change the American way of life. Mitt Romney said this in his victory speech:
Our campaign is about more than replacing a President; it is about saving the soul of America. This election is a choice between two very different destinies.
President Obama wants to “fundamentally transform” America. We want to restore America to the founding principles that made this country great.
He wants to turn America into a European-style social welfare state*. We want to ensure that we remain a free and prosperous land of opportunity.
*The transcript that politico.com has on their website, which I’m assuming the Romney campaign released, has “entitlement society” in place of where Romney actually said “welfare state.” Romney must have gotten a little carried away in the fervor…
10:45 – Primary night is essentially over, and it has been since about 8:01 when most of the cable news networks projected Mitt Romney the winner of the New Hampshire primary. No surprise here. With 76% of precincts reporting currently, the results are as follows: Mitt Romney (38.5%), Ron Paul (23.2%), Jon Huntsman (16.7%), and the rest have less than 10%. It’s difficult to imagine that any other candidate is going to be able build enough strength to take on Romney at this point.
7:30 - Less than 30 minutes until the polls close and the votes get tallied up. CNN is unofficially reporting that Mitt Romney so far has taken the lead: (@nhkillion)
CNN: unofficial 2900 votes cast in Ward 1 Manch is Romney romp: Hunt 403, Paul 341, Romney 927 Santorum 162
6:15 - It seems like the Obama campaign has decided to weigh in on the New Hampshire Primary by purchasing banner space on two sides of the Union Leader’s website:
We saw the same strategy used last week when they similarly bought ad space on all three sides of the Des Moines Register’s website. The interesting thing here is that the Obama Campaign has decided to stoke the fears of the “Tea Party Agenda” this time.
1:15 – Pot and Kettle
Yesterday, Mitt Romney made an incredibly stupid decision when he decided to frame his views on health care as “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.” This is a highly potent string of words that can be easily used to characterize him as out of touch with everyday Americans, millions of them who have been fired or laid off since the beginning of the recession.
However, as Romney now attempts to plead to voters that his political rivals are taking it out of context (“I was talking about insurance companies. Yeah, we like to be able to get rid of insurance companies that don’t give us the insurance we need.”), he has to deal with fact that he has previously set the bar for what’s contextually acceptable.
If you recall, Romney’s campaign released a blatantly deceptive web ad about a month ago that quoted Obama as saying “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose,” when the real, uncut Obama quote was “Senator McCain’s campaign actually said, and I quote, ‘If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.’”
When asked about this misleading, the Romney campaign actually boasted of its effectiveness and defended the use of “propaganda”:
“First of all, ads are propaganda by definition. We are in the persuasion business, the propaganda business…. Ads are agitprop…. Ads are about hyperbole, they are about editing. It’s ludicrous for them to say that an ad is taking something out of context…. All ads do that. They are manipulative pieces of persuasive art.”
Consequently, it’s laughable to see that Romney is now the one to plead “context!”
12:00 – jay – Happy New Hampshire Primary Day
Or, happy End-of-The-GOP-Primary day.
Latest polls out show downward momentum for Romney and upward momentum for Huntsman. But none of it really matters. The size of the number separating first place (Romney) the rest of the field is too large for any last minute change of fortune. If there is, you will see a lots of “this is what no one expected…polling in New Hampshire has never been terribly accurate.” But I do not think that will happen. Romney will take New Hampshire and effectively end the GOP Primary.
The only question mark is an inconsequential one: Who takes second and third? The race for these positions is largely between Huntsman and Paul, as Santorum’s bounce has begun to fall and wasn’t worth very much in New Hampshire to begin with. A second place finish going to either Huntsman or Paul means nothing in real presidential terms. Both of them remain nationally unelectable. The most consequential result would be a Huntsman second place finish which would legitimize his campaign, and same him from national embarrassment.
Essentially, today has two potential outcomes – the one everyone expects (where the details mean little) or an outrageous change of fortune for Romney at the last minute. If the latter occurs we all go back to the drawing board
9:30 – The first votes were cast shortly after 12am this morning in Dixville Notch, NH and President Obama has taken the lead:
On the Republican side, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman tied, with two votes each. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul each got one vote. President Obama received his very first live votes of confidence — three of them.