Super Tuesday

The conventional wisdom as polls opened in Alabama and Mississippi was that Santorum would likely be the big loser by failing to beat Romney or snuff Gingrich. That scenario made sense: Santorum was not only flagging in the polls, but had a decided financial disadvantage in these two states. (His super PAC trailed Team Romney in media buys by a seven-to-one ratio in Alabama and a five-to-one margin in Mississippi; it also had fewer ads than Gingrich ‘s super PAC). But now Gingrich is toast, whether he immediately accepts it or not, and Romney has failed to seal the deal.

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Lucky Run

Since launching his second campaign for the White House, Mitt Romney has resolutely insisted he favored a health care requirement only for Massachusetts residents, not as a matter of national policy.

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Santorum For Veep!

Rick Santorum’s impressive Super Tuesday showing—he won Tennessee, Oklahoma, and North Dakota, and lost Ohio by only a hair—compels political commentators to pretend that the nomination may still be up for grabs (when in fact the nominee will still almost certainly be Mitt Romney). That won’t last.

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After just barely pulling out a win in Ohio, Mitt Romney has “won Super Tuesday” by most media accounts. But even with his successes (wins in Virginia, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Idaho, and a decent shot in Alaska), you’ll likely hear some people echo a recent claim by Newt Gingrich: that Romney can’t be confident of the nomination if he can’t win anywhere in the South. This concern didn’t suddenly present itself: Mitt’s first real stumble in the race, of course, was in South Carolina, where he got righteously stomped by Newt.

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Regardless of whether Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum comes out ahead in Ohio later today, Super Tuesday already promises to make at least one growing segment of America’s political class gleeful: caucus skeptics. Of the ten events scheduled for today, only those in North Dakota, Idaho, and Alaska will tally votes by means of a caucus rather than a primary election, and most attention will be elsewhere. But, even if it’s temporarily pacified, the anti-caucus sentiment that has been burgeoning in the wake of the various vote-counting follies in Iowa, Nevada, and Maine is sure to crop up again.

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Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum aren’t the only ones facing voters this Super Tuesday. Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich is one of eleven incumbents in Congress who will be fighting to keep their seats as a result of redistricting. Current polls suggest that Kucinich will lose to fellow Democratic Congressman Marcy Kaptur. But if today marks the end of Kucinich’s political career, no one can claim it was a boring ride.

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Tomorrow is Super Tuesday, when Republicans in ten states will cast their primary votes. Mitt Romney needs decisive wins to strengthen his tenuous frontrunner status, and he can’t be pleased about recent news that he definitely supported a federal mandate to purchase health insurance. As Romney’s damning (to conservatives, anyway) record becomes clearer, is he losing their support? Somewhat surprisingly, a poll released by Gallup today doesn’t seem to bear out that idea.

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Both Jonathan Chait and Jonathan Cohn today noted the utter incompetence of Mitt Romney’s GOP rivals when it comes to basic opposition research, as shown by their failure to dig up two 2009 statements in which Romney supported a national individual health insurance mandate. These statements are completely at odds with Romney’s claim throughout this campaign that he has never backed a national individual mandate, but rather simply thought it appropriate for the people of his own state. Yet Mssrs.

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This year’s Super Tuesday will be “super” in the most obvious way: Ten states with a total of 437 delegates will make their decisions on the same day. What will be the upshot of all these contests? Below, a guide to what is likely to happen and how to interpret the results: Super Tuesday won’t prove decisive. This is true for two reasons. First, all ten states are using some variant of a proportional system to award delegates. Some are looking to statewide vote totals, while others focus on the results within congressional districts.

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No sooner had Mitt Romney triumphed in the Michigan primary than Rick Santorum edged into his victory by succeeding in winning an equal number of delegates. Romney polled 3 percent higher than Santorum in the popular vote. But that meant nothing in the arcana of counting at the polls that will be translated into 15 delegates each at the Tampa convention in August.

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