Shiny Happy Romney

Since when did Mitt Romney turn into a jovial, wise-cracking sort? Well, ever since it became apparent that his chief rivals in the Iowa caucuses would almost surely be Congressman Ron Paul and former Senator Rick Santorum, who probably stand about the same chance as Kim Kardashian or Dominique Strauss-Kahn of winning the Republican nomination. Meanwhile, the only two candidates Romney’s people have worried about, Texas Governor Rick Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, could be left in the shadows after tomorrow night, relegated to making their final stands in South Carolina on January 21. At least that’s what the latest polls from Iowa say. Santorum, with his final-week blast of momentum, could win tomorrow night, no matter how out-organized he may be by Perry, Romney and Paul. But he has little time to scare up a viable campaign in New Hampshire or South Carolina. Only the profoundest of upsets could prevent Romney from coming out of Iowa smelling like a rose. Which explains why he’s been grinning and guffawing his way around the state, making quips comparing the Gingrich campaign to I Love Lucy and likening President Obama’s promises to the wedding vows of the aforementioned Ms. Kardashian. This morning in Davenport, Romney noted that his wife, Anne, had been on Fox and Friends and “was marvelous. They asked her tough questions, and she did exactly what you’re supposed to do: She didn’t answer them.” If the man suddenly breaks into a spirited rendition of “Walking on Sunshine” tomorrow night, it should surprise no one.  


So They Say

“The other candidates come and go, and they’re all part of the status quo.” 
—Ron Paul, busting a rhyme on Fox News Sunday

Daily Meme: Get Santorum!

  • Ron Paul: He’s “very liberal.”
  • Rick Perry: "He got beat by 18 [percentage] points his last race. I mean this guy has proven that he can't win races when it matters against a liberal Democrat."
  • Michele Bachmann: “I never would have supported Arlen Specter, who is a pro-abortion candidate.”
  • Rand Paul: “Do you want someone who’s trigger happy to be your commander in chief?” 
  • Mitt Romney: “Like Speaker Gingrich, Senator Santorum spent his career in government, in Washington.” 
  • Perry: “He’s a serial earmarker.”

What We're Writing

From Iowa, Patrick Caldwell reports on what lays behind Santorum’s momentum—and why he might win the caucus.
Paul Waldman answers your questions about the Iowa caucus.

What We're Reading

  • Perry’s hopes rest with his Iowa ground game
  • Steve Kornacki shoots down the biggest political red herrings of 2012—including the Obama/Clinton ticket. 
  • Erick Erickson is dumbfounded by conservatives’ support for Santorum. 
  • Paul is losing his patience. 
  • Rick Perry, Dark Horse

Poll of the Day

The Des Moines Register’s final Iowa poll shows Santorum trending upward—by the day. Meanwhile, Public Policy Polling finds Paul, Romney and Santorum in a virtual dead heat.