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February 6th, 2012
07:48 PM ET

John Avlon: 3 things you need to know about today's GOP contests

by John Avlon

Conventional wisdom gets recycled too often in political conversations this time of year–and right now, conventional wisdom says that the Mitt Romney juggernaut is going to sweep through February and that’s all the news that worth fixating on. But today’s contests in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri–offer a number of different narratives that are worth looking at up close.

1) Mitt Could Lose – Call off the coronation. Some polls show Rick
Santorum
in position for a strong showing in Minnesota tonight. It’s a state whose GOP contingent is divided between the center-right sensibilities of Tim Pawlenty (now supporting Mitt) and Michele Bachmann, who isn’t supporting anyone, but whose supporters could find reason to back Newt or Rick Santorum, especially the more social conservative among them. So keep an eye on Minnesota tomorrow night – it could hold up a stop sign to the Romney campaign.

2) Rick is Trying to Knock Out Newt – It’s a fight for the far-right,
with Rick Santorum’s campaign taking out ads comparing Newt to Nancy Pelosi and President Obama in Colorado. Ouch. The name of this narrative game is to establish Santorum as the true social conservative alternative to Mitt Romney, eyeing a two man race on the road to Tampa. Rick has more money right now, but a defiant Newt has said repeatedly that he isn’t going anywhere.

3) Missouri Doesn’t Matter – No disrespect to the Show Me State, but
the primary today is a beauty contest. No delegates will be awarded and Newt isn’t even on the ballot. The real contest will be March 17th–St. Patrick’s Day–when a caucus will start the process of delivering delegates and voters will be able to cast their lot in with Newt. The only real news that could come out of Harry Truman’s home state tomorrow night will be media momentum – is Santorum can do well with evangelicals here and in Colorado, he’ll have some evidence to say that he – and not Newt – is the real conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.


Filed under: Politics
soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. John K

    Here is the sad truth with the Republicans, Obama will rip apart Romney, just like Brown tore apart Whitman. It is about being rich, connections with big business that the Obama camp will breach to the ignorant American people and they will re-elect Obama. Never mind checking any facts, or thinking for yourself. most of the voting public will do what the news media management tells them what to do and who to vote for. It's almost time for all you sheep to vote exactly they way you are suppose to.

    February 7, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Reply
  2. Alisha

    Romney has strong problem solving credentials (Governor & SLC Olympics), charitable acts of service and giving thousands to disaster relief and the homeless.
    We know that he will fire government workers and departments that are not delivering results to support their budgets and their pay. When he was governor of Mass. there were not that many new jobs created because, think back a few years, everyone already had a job!
    Romney is an excellent parent, husband, has a solid BYU education, a Harvard MBA/JD, international experience, excellent debate skills and really good hair. He doesn’t have much charisma, but charisma doesn’t pay the bills. I know he will solve a lot of America's problems and what he lacks in charisma will be made up with results, he has been doing that his whole life.

    February 7, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Reply
  3. Candace

    Once again, Ron Paul, who has won the 3rd most delegates is completely ignored.

    February 7, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Reply
    • no response needed

      Go Paul, we expect him to be nominated for "American Elect"
      so he still has a chance, right now he is #1 on the ballot choice and growing.
      "Americans elect" is now on all 50 states general election ballots GO PAUL!!!

      February 7, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Reply
      • no response needed

        AMERICANS ELECT

        sorry I missed the "s"

        February 7, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Reply
    • burns

      Ok. I have been watching this farce for a few months now. I think it's quite clear that none of these candiates have a snowball's chanc ein a camp fire against Obama, so.... what is the point? Why are they parading these clowns in front of America? What is the end game here? Newt can't make Perry or Romeny look good, to swing voters, no matter he does. Is there some sort of strange scheme going on behind the scenes? Bachmann was for the evangicals, to keep them voting Reublican. Santorum though came out of nowhere.

      Why doesn't the republican party try someone younger? Surely there's somebody they can put on a stage, who can speak, has a pulse and isn't a religious zealot? Does such an individual exist?

      Newt looks like he has a football helmet inside his head. Homer Simpson syndrome? He should consider a haircut change.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Reply
  4. Bubba

    ".so look for mushrooms to be sprouting on American soil very soon, compliments of Iran!" In the real world, we could kill ALL of them with one missile strike, which would ruin all neighboring countries within a few years. If a sudden strike killed us all and immobilized Hawaii and Alaska, in a year a submarine would rise from beneath the polar ice and unleash enough nukes to kill China, Russia, and ten other enemies. NO ONE DARES ATTACK US.

    February 7, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Reply
    • shuksan

      Ha - when you mentioned mushrooms growing on American soil I thought you were going to talk about the manure coming out of the debates...

      February 7, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Reply
  5. Willard

    A Vote for Mitt, Santorum, Gingrich, or Obama is a vote for Israel....

    Vote for America....Vote Ron Paul.

    February 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Reply
    • Ralf The Dog

      A Vote for Mitt, Santorum, Gingrich, or Obama is a vote for Iran not deploying a nuke on the Hudson just off shore of Manhattan.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Reply
      • Chris

        Nonsense. Did you know Antarctica is developing nuclear weapons too and they are going to attack us, so is Santa Claus. Let's bomb em!

        February 7, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Reply
      • Willard

        I bet you're still devastated from the Iraqi nuke which took out Newark...

        Idiot.

        February 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Reply
    • Bubba

      . . . because Ron Paul is a racist and and anti-Semite? Boy, you Paulbots just keep making your guy sound even more crazy with each post. No thanks, I like paper money and automobiles.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Reply
      • Willard

        There's nothing wrong with paper money. We just have a problem with Jewish bankers lending it to us at interest, turning us and our children into perpetual debt slaves.

        That diet coke sure tastes good, doesn't it you zombie?

        February 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Reply
        • Bubba

          What are you even talking about, fool? You Paul nuts are a waste of human skin. Shut your pie hole and don't start the Nazi talk.

          February 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Reply
          • Willard

            Think you can make be stop, Bubba?

            February 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Reply
          • Willard

            Bubba, I assume you're either an American or Israeli Jew, and you're assuming the moniker of an American "redneck" to throw the scent off your trail. You're not fooling me, you parasite. You Jews are sickening.
            Everything you've done to this country, and think you can dictate our election?

            February 7, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Reply
    • Concerned

      Hope a vote for Paul is a vote for Israel also ? But, Paul and Obama may could get together and ask, Please , Can I have my Drone back and Please Don't bomb us, OK ?

      February 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Reply
      • Bubba

        Ron Paul wants to close the borders and stop doing business with "foreigners" and introduce "whites-only malls" and all kind of fun stuff. He thinks Jews killed Christ or something boring and childish and wants to go on the Gold Standard again so South Africa can control our economy. It's like listening to children playing house.

        February 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Reply
        • Bryan

          Seems to me you should take a bit more care before you generalize, Bubba. From what I've heard so far, it seems like Ron Paul is the only guy up there who actually thinks it'd be good if we started to trade with other nations. He even said that in the national debate in Florida! It's quite shameful that you attack Dr. Paul ad hominem. He's got the best ideas out there and is the only one who can fight for us and not for the Federal Reserve.

          February 7, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Reply
  6. AnnaB

    I feel bad for the way that things are in the Middle East, but they have been that way for centuries – tribal warfare will not end just because outsiders think that it should end. What to do? If I were Israel and sitting in the middle of the Middle, I would also be worried about having missiles pointed at my home. I do not know why that is not enough motivation for both sides to figure out how to live peacefully each other. I just wish the West could stay out of Middle Eastern century's old conflict.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Reply
  7. Mike

    Let's just name Santorum President of The Evangelicals. He can have a seat in the upper reaches of the galleries in the House and Senate. Once a month, he gets five minutes to voice all the dissatisfactions with America that burn constantly in the souls of all America-condemning people of faith. He and his followers get no closer to power than that. They can't be trusted. They would try to establish a religious theocracy as the government of the United States. Talk about government control... born-agains and evans need their own country with their own leader. I hear some space in Alaska might be available, if they can stand looking across the strait to see Russia. Their kind of nonsense is not what most Americans want. And what DO most Americans want? Most Americans want them to take their act somewhere else and pipe down.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Reply
  8. sarah34

    Still wondering what's up with CNN. Any story that is not favorable about Obama has the comments section closed off almost immediately after posting the story, but you let people go at it if it's about the Republicans. CNN is as far left as you can go.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Reply
    • Mike

      Not so much... have you seen HuffPo? I too wonder why comments are shut down on some items but not on others. Didn't notice the Obama bias you're claiming, but I'll take a look. Meantime, if you want to comment on anti-Obama writing, I suggest you hop over to fox, where anti-Obama and anti-US-government rhetoric hold sway all day every day. Nothing but criticism of the president, his administration, and their efforts to make America better over there.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Reply
    • InVT

      The fact that you consider CNN leftist shows how ****-nuts to the right Republicans and shills like you have gone.
      Many have stated that after the last election, Democrats ran to the middle and Republicans ran to the loony bin; I think that is putting it way too mildly.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Reply
    • Scott

      untrue. MSNBC is far left, Fox News is far right and CNN is a bit left. That's the reality.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Reply
      • Ralf The Dog

        I would call CNN dead center. They like to get members of the left and the right, put them in a cage, two go in, one comes out. Giving a platform for people with grossly divergent views to publicly hack each other to little bits (verbally) is the cornerstone of democracy.

        February 7, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Reply
  9. Bemyown

    Three things you need to know....CNN will do everything to support Dems, put down Conservatives...nice (disparaging) picture.
    When they say it doesn't matter, it must matter – look how badly the Dems want this state.

    They will always paint the picture are far-right, or radical....

    Their intent is blatantly obvious ..

    February 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Reply
    • Darth Cheney

      Their intent is to portray the truth – they are far right and radical. Neither Lincoln, TR, Eisenhower, Bush 41 or even Reagan could get nominated by the frothing mob dominating today's GOP.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Reply
  10. Bob

    To be a conservative is to prefer the past to the present. It is the philosophy of doom. It sees every change as the beginning of the end. To be a liberal is to prefer the present to the past and to welcome the future. It sees change as both necessary and positive. It is the philosophy from which hope springs eternal.

    February 7, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Reply
    • eso not exo

      mankind is not evolving it has no need to. only individuals that consciously seek evolution can step up, but you will not be able to help others that don't want or need to. outside of that man is mechanical and only partially functioning. everything is as it should be.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Reply
    • Justmyopinion

      Bob, That's seems to be pretty shallow reasoning or just a cheap shot. Using your own reference, the view from the other side of the isle, would say the democrats are living in the distant past, afraid to look at the recent past, and destined to repeat communism's and socialism's mistakes if we keep moving toward the nanny state mode. Look at what's happening (or not happening) in the EU, that is a picture of our country's future if we don't make some hard choices now. Just my thinking but, there are no easy or simple answers and certainly no cheap ones.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Reply
    • Scott

      the only true free-thinkers are those who don't have political affiliations and who vote based their values and on researching each issue and candidate. The rampant partisan cheerleading is both divisive and lame.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Reply
      • MDB

        Scott just nailed the root issue w the nature of our politics, well said and in few words but speaks volumes Scott!.....too many people have inexplicably strong opinions on topics they have few facts or reasoning about. We're told what our opinions are thru affiliations w extemist media (both left and right), this is incredibly destructive and a hazard to our well being. It's great to have an opinion but develop it yourself. If we based our opinions on facts and understanding there would naturally be a lot less extremism.....arent we fighting extremism abroad yet we have it here and growing on our own shores with our own people

        February 7, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Reply
      • sal

        Free thinkers have never won the White House and never will.

        February 7, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Reply
    • Bubba

      Aw, that's too simplified to be accurate, but I can't understand why people are so rigid about stuff. My views on social issues are fairly liberal, but I put my money in the bank and my doctor doesn't use either leeches or New Age pixie dust. I've got the same wife I always had, but most of my friends are divorced or ga y or some heathen thing or other. I want my banker conservative and my doctor cutting-edge; is that hard to understand?

      February 7, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Reply
    • Kris

      Somethings are eternally true and not up for "change" or negotiation. Unless of course you have no moral compass.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Reply
      • sal

        Moral compasses are notorious for being wrong. You may think your values are eternal, but most of them will die with you.

        February 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  11. M.A.

    Gloria and Rick would make good dancing partners for the masquerade. Though, she needs to work on her transitions being a bit more smooth judging from her post prom debate performance following the Florida presidential debate last month.

    That look on his face! I don't particularly have a liking for his politics but you had to feel for a guy being yanked around like a rag doll. :p

    Now obey come here and do just as I command you to....

    yikes

    February 7, 2012 at 11:36 am | Reply
  12. Foghorn Leghorn

    So its come to this.
    The Republicans are running four drag queens for president.

    February 7, 2012 at 11:05 am | Reply
    • Q

      Have you wondered why no serious Repulicans have run this term. Romey was picked to be a fall guy. This little drama is staged for you to pretend there is still some choice. P L U T O C R A C Y...Wake up sleepy...

      February 7, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Reply
    • Cobra

      If any of the republicans are drag queens as you say then even they will be better than the phucking turd that fell out of the Chicago slime bucket and you dumb azs sheep sent it to Washington.

      February 7, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Reply
  13. Fladabosco

    3 things you need to know about today's elections: 1) Santorum is a scary, creepy guy. Who takes a dead baby home so their kids can hold it? C r e e p y!! 2) Newt is a philanderer, liar, hypocrite shill for big business who supports child labor. 3) Romney is another shill for the rich and will do everything for then and against the middle class that he can.

    February 7, 2012 at 10:39 am | Reply
    • bemyown

      you are scared....all three of these people you bash look better than any dem out there......put the same standards to them....a very ugly picture.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Reply
  14. Me

    That is a VERY Distrubing Picture! (Especially Paul and Romney)

    February 7, 2012 at 10:02 am | Reply
    • Bubba

      Santorum looks so happy! This is a good look for him. He should trade the sweater vests for a gown.

      February 7, 2012 at 11:07 am | Reply
      • Me

        How do you know this isn't how they normally dress?

        February 7, 2012 at 11:41 am | Reply
    • KC Yankee

      No kidding.

      February 7, 2012 at 11:46 am | Reply
  15. ipmutt

    Three things you need to know. Obama and transparency- out the window. Obama and no PACs- out the window. Obama and honesty- out the window.

    February 7, 2012 at 9:21 am | Reply
    • chuckly

      yes, because we know it would have been so far to have the republican pacs slam obama and him not be able to slam them back. You can be totally against the rules of the game but you still have to play by the rules in place if you expect to compete. It's incredible the whining coming from repubs cause of obama's super pac. What's the matter, don't like a fair fight?

      February 7, 2012 at 10:25 am | Reply
      • Bubba

        If your opponent brings a gun to a knife fight, by all means shoot him in the knee. What's the difference anyway? No one's gonna vote for Mittens.

        February 7, 2012 at 11:06 am | Reply
        • chuckly

          exactly. Repubs think calling him a flip flopper is gonna mean anything. Yes he fought against superpacs, but since the repubs are going full throttle for the superpacs, he has no choice but to play along by the rules whether he agrees with them or not.

          February 7, 2012 at 11:15 am | Reply
          • sarah34

            Obama is a liar who will do and say ANYTHING to win. I wonder how many dead people will be voting this election?

            February 7, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Reply
            • Bubba

              "Obama is a liar who will do and say ANYTHING to win." Takes one to know one, right? What's it like living under a bridge?

              February 7, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Reply
            • Well?

              Not quite as many as "W" received.

              February 7, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Reply
    • Howard

      How can you possibly object to Obama abiding by the rules crafted by the right-wing Supremes?

      February 7, 2012 at 11:13 am | Reply
    • cigarman

      So what, it only shows that Obama has graduated from community organizer to TRUE POLITICIAN.

      February 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Reply
      • sarah34

        He did that long ago.

        February 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Reply
    • sarah34

      Chuckly, Obama denounced super pacs way back in the last presidential election and then again in 2010 during state of the union. He is a flip flopper who feels that, if it will benefit him, he will get off of his high and mighty self righteous throne and support it. Obama is no different than any other politician.

      Obama "paid" for his win the last time with donations received. He's planning on doing it again.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Reply
      • Scott

        Yes, this is hypocrisy on the side of Obama and if anyone believed he wasn't going to be a politician in the end, I've got some swampland for sale. The issue of Super PACs needs to be addressed with the Supreme Court who royally messed that decision up by one vote. For now we have to decide whose policies are better and whose lies are more acceptable. I assume you're voting Republican, but there's a lot of hypocrisy on that side as well. Politics is a dirty game – always has been, and most likely always will be.

        February 7, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Reply
  16. krikir

    Mitt is the best man for the job! Although, I'll vote for ANYONE but Obama in 2012!

    February 7, 2012 at 8:57 am | Reply
    • Nick San Diego

      Yea, it's hard to vote for Obama, The economy is getting better,the wars are ending,he's a good family man,the stock market is well over 12,000 , BinLaden's dead and GM ia alive.
      Some people are just masochists and can;t handle a good thing.

      February 7, 2012 at 10:17 am | Reply
      • Bubba

        I heard a couple of good old boys about to cry about Obama the other day. See, if he leaves office without being impeached or disqualified by Birthers, he will go down in history as the first black president. Right now they still seriously hope to "make it didn't happen" and put McCain in the history books as president. Believe me, you don't want to try to argue with that level of psycho-denial.

        February 7, 2012 at 11:00 am | Reply
        • cigarman

          Psycho -Denial? Don`t you mean just being IGNORANT?

          February 7, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Reply
      • V in Chicago

        Nick – well said. Nice to know there are people on here who are NOT morons!

        February 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Reply
      • Justmyopinion

        Yea, it's hard to vote for Obama,
        The economy is getting better (while national debt is getting way bigger),
        The wars are ending (just in time for Iran),
        He's a good family man (neither you or I know the truth about that one),
        The stock market is well over 12,000 (today maybe but, I haven't looked in the last 5 minutes and to bad about the unemployment numbers sound so good, as long you don't count the 1.2 million dropping out the work force in 1 month) ,
        BinLaden's dead (in a war that President Obama would never had started of course)
        GM ia alive (at what cost to taxpayer and have they really paid it all back? Do some searching on that please).

        Some people are just masochists and can;t handle a good thing (you claim the other side is blind to some facts, please check yours and don't just believe what you want to believe either)

        February 7, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Reply
    • Bubba

      I bet you end up voting for MItt.

      February 7, 2012 at 10:18 am | Reply
    • kllt NY

      Mitt is the Best Mormon for the Job.. finaly some in the white house who will propose a law to allow men to marry as many of our young daughers as they please under the guide of the Creator.

      February 7, 2012 at 10:22 am | Reply
      • Erik

        Idiot, that's all that needs to be said

        February 7, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Reply
        • Anne S

          Really, why is that idiotic? most of you folks on CNN would like to see gay marriage adopted nationwide, why should other marital abberations bother you?

          February 7, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Reply
    • MNTaxpayer

      I'm glad you take your vote so seriously. This anyone on my side, no matter how stupid, or corrupt, or dishonest, rather than anyone on the other side, for whatever reason you dislike them, is why we wind up with the leaders we have. Be honest with yourself, consider the choices and vote for who you honestly think would be the better president. If you truly hate them both, then don't vote.

      February 7, 2012 at 10:53 am | Reply
    • Foghorn Leghorn

      Mitt is the best drag queen for the job!

      February 7, 2012 at 11:01 am | Reply
    • Mike

      That's about what you have as candidates – a tawdry collection of "anybody but Obama's". You have an out of touch rich boy who's never gotten his fingernails dirty in his life, you have an ethically- and morally-challenged Washington insider ideologue, and you have a man who wants to lead an American theocracy. None of them belongs even on the same stage as Obama. They can't measure up. It's not even close. So good luck with all that!!! 🙂

      February 7, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Reply
  17. Germane

    It doesn't seem possible to comment on show segments directly, but since john's blog post is based on a video segment, this seems the best place to post a comment.
    While it is refreshing to see a CNN personality take an unequivocal position on the necessity of raising the debt ceiling, I was distressed by the false equivalence of Obama's old vote and the position of whichever Republican candidate is under discussion.
    Obama voted "no, " but his vote was purely symbolic, since he knew that a majority of Republicans (and Congress) would vote for an increase. Obama knew that his vote would have no impact.
    Romney, if he wins, will have real power. Voting "no" is practically a campaign promise.
    In other words, it is not the same thing when a powerless senator from the minority party casts a vote purely to score political points, and when a presidential candidate paints himself into a corner by making it a campaign plank. Every time you treat these two situations as equivalent (in the name of "they both do it") you imply that they are of equal significance, and they're not. Rather than end on a note of that emphasizes the seriousness of the issue, this false equivalence trivializes it. If you feel compelled to mention Obama's vote every time the topic of the debt ceiling comes up, you should at least place it in context. Obama did not really oppose raising the debt ceiling; he was just showing off. What does Romney really think and will he act on it?

    February 7, 2012 at 12:02 am | Reply
    • John

      What you must understand about the debt ceiling is that the money has already been spent, and is already owed. Failure to raise the ceiling means defauting on the debt (be it to Soc Sec recipients or bank creditors, whomever). If you do that, you get sued and you lose, so long as the contract was clear. You can of course claim bankruptcy, and screw your record forever.

      Preventing the spending before it happens is what you want. Not reneging on paying for services already rendered. For shame you would want the USA to do that.

      February 7, 2012 at 11:29 am | Reply
      • Mike

        Save your breath, John. They simply refuse to understand. Facts don't fit their narrative, so they deny them. No communication or compromise is possible.

        February 7, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Reply
  18. Amir

    I think there are a lot of things to come out of the "Middle east". In the next few years. the question is or are others willing to not be a part of it. I can't speak for american's point of view but I can see what's being said to me. It might be a point of view which might not be the same as the west or for that matter. There also might be generation gaps in age and vision. SO from my point of view there is a lot of progess as well as struggle in places where people choose to struggle. I can't speak for America..allthough the lybia issue regaredless of how it was spun....lookeda little bad.

    February 6, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Reply
    • toppgunnery

      As Amir above points out, a lot of things are going to be coming out of the Middle East and probably sooner than later. Iran will be lobbing Chinese designed nuclear tipped missles at the US before we know it. Obama and company have not done squat to prevent this and now the Chinese who see as those we can sell our products to and they sell us everything they make for our gazillions of bucks, are selling secret long-range missile technology to the Iranians...so look for mushrooms to be sprouting on American soil very soon, compliments of Iran!

      February 7, 2012 at 10:28 am | Reply
  19. Amir

    how do you do that with your yes? is it a nateral thing or is it cosmetic.....I know women have all of the beauty secrets..........

    February 6, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Reply

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