National Journal Online

The Power of Rick Santorum's Sweater Vest; PLUS: Why Perry Faded -- VIDEO

Late-night comedians on Tuesday rang in the first contest of the Republican nomination process by dissecting the candidates' performances leading up to Iowa.

What super power did Rick Santorum possess? His sweater vest, of course.

And don't miss today's Must See Moment at 2:17 when Rick Perry's wife talks about why her husband's campaign faltered:

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Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 6:40am

Mitt Romney's Plod to the Republican Nomination

If there’s one fact about Mitt Romney’s biography worth knowing, it’s that his father’s presidential ambitions were scuttled by a gaffe.  Romney’s father, George, the governor of Michigan, said in 1967 that he’d been victim of a “brainwashing” on a tour of South Vietnam where U.S. officials convinced him that the war was the right thing. He was making the point that he had changed his mind and now thought the war was a mistake. But his presidential ambitions were over.

Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 4:40am

Santorum Admits He Has Catching Up To Do In New Hampshire

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum confessed he has some catching up to do in New Hampshire.

“I’m a little bit behind the curve,” Santorum told CNN early Wednesday morning, noting that Mitt Romney has more money and has been running for president for the past six years.

“We feel very good that we’re going to climb that ladder just as we did here,” Santorum said.

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Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 2:40am

Paul Declares He’s ‘Satisfied’ with Third Place Finish

ANKENY, Iowa – After a third-place finish in the Iowa Republican caucuses, presidential candidate Ron Paul pronounced himself “satisfied” with the results and vowed to fight on in the next primary event in New Hamsphire.

“I think there’s nothing to be ashamed of, everything to be satisfied, and be ready and raring to move on, onto the next stop, which is new Hampshire,” Paul said to cheering room of 250 supporters. Members of his family, including his wife, Carol, and son, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, stood beside him.

Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 2:40am

Santorum's Meteoric Rise: How Long Will It Last?

Rick Santorum’s upstart finish atop the field in Iowa is a scenario no one would have predicted a mere two weeks ago. It was a validation of his faith in both traditional retail politics and the power of the state’s Christian conservatives. On Tuesday night, he thanked his wife, God and Iowa, in that order.

Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 2:40am

Romney Victory Speech Anti-Obama, Long On Reasons

Mitt Romney, speaking as he was virtually neck and neck with opponent Rick Santorum for first place in the Iowa caucuses, focused much of his victory speech on attacking President Obama.

"The gap between his [Obama's] promises four years ago, and his performance, is as great as anything I've ever seen in my entire life," Romney said, blasting the president for his economic policies and what he called lack of crippling sanctions or preparation for military action on Iran. "This has been a failed presidency."

Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 2:40am

Santorum Thanks God for Strong Iowa Showing, Moves Forward

Rick Santorum did not declare victory in a speech to supporters early Tuesday morning-- the Iowa caucus results were still too close to call.

He did, however, give thanks to three sources of support: his wife, God, and Iowa voters. “You have taken the first step of taking back this country," Santorum told his supporters at his Des Moines, Iowa headquarters.

Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 2:40am

Perry Reassessing Campaign After Poor Iowa Showing

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Gov. Rick Perry is headed back to Texas to decide whether to continue his presidential quest after a dismal fifth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday.

"I decided to return to Texas to assess the results of tonight’s caucus, to determine whether there is a path forward for myself in this race," Perry said in an emotional speech late Tuesday night.

Paul said from his Iowa campaign headquarters that he was "raring and ready to move on" to the next contest in New Hampshire.

Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 2:40am

Paul's Third Place Letdown Doesn't Diminish His Impact

ANKENY, Iowa -- Ron Paul could claim victory Tuesday even though he came in third place. The long shot for the Republican nomination already has done more to promulgate libertarian principles than anyone since Ayn Rand.

The Texas congressman’s unswerving commitment to slashing federal spending and shrinking the size of government fueled the tea party movement, energized young voters and pushed the Republican Party rightward. His anti-war crusade engaged Democrats and independents, and he paved the way for more anti-establishment candidates to run as Republicans.

Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 2:40am

Whither Thou Goest, Iowa Caucus?

Tuesday's results are bound to revive the enduring debate over the oh-so-special role played by a state that's whiter, more rural and more evangelical than most of the country. Iowa's tradition of holding partisan caucuses instead of state-run primaries attracts only a fraction of the electorate but sets the tone for the entire nominating process. No fair?

At this moment, with the race between Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney too close to call and Ron Paul coming in third, two of top three 2012 finishers in Iowa are highly unlikely to win the nomination.

Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 2:40am