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Ron Paul Finished Third. It is Romney v. Santorum n the Granite State

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In 1980 George H.W. Bush collected 33,530 votes in the Iowa caucuses, and Ronald Reagan bagged 31,348.

Reagan went on to win the New Hampshire primary, the Republican nomination and 44 states in the fall wipe-out of Jimmy Carter. I suspect you will that a lot from Team Romney this week.

From Rick Santorum you will continue to hear a full throated defense of traditional conservatism and a demand for credentials in the movement. He too will be fighting for the Ronald Reagan mantle.

Incredibly the GOP has arranged to have ABC hosting the key debate on Saturday night before next Tuesday’s voting. Who’s going to claim to have paid for those microphones.

Both Santorum and Romney can be pleased with tonight’s results, the former because he is the alternative to Romney and the latter because his show-down is with an underfunded candidate with yet-to-be-proven appeal to moderates.

The big winner is political media. It could have been over. It isn’t.

The big loser is Ron Paul. He put all his chips on the table in Iowa, and he lost.

Hughniverse

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