11:40 PM: With 95.1% precincts (or bear caves, or what the fuck ever they caucus in in Alaska) reporting, Mitt Romney leads in Alaska with 32.7% of the vote. Santorum comes in second with 29.1%. Ron Paul is in third, and Newt Gingrich, as part of his ingenious plan to seize the presidency, is dead last. Find the full results here. This is the not-so-super end of Slog's Super Tuesday coverage. Thank you for slutting it up with us tonight. God bless America.
Keeper of the Flame
10:19 PM: This is the front page of Drudge right now:
Click to enlarge.
Seems a little bit dramatic for a less-than-one-percent win over an insane, un-Google-able theocrat warmonger, doesn't it?
But How Is Bob the Builder's Senate Race Going?
9:57 PM: Apparently, Joe the Plumber wound up winning the Republican nomination in his House race after all. If we're giving out political careers to minor players in the 2008 campaign, I hope this means there's a political future for Ashley Todd, too. Maybe the Supreme Court?
Reminder: Ron Paul Still Hasn't Won a State
9:47 PM: Alaska's caucus results are still probably a long way off from being reported—some estimate they'll be in around eleven o'clock or midnight tonight, others say tomorrow morning—but if Ron Paul doesn't win Alaska, does that mean we get to ignore him now? He hasn't won a single state, and in traditional delegate counts, he's behind Newt Gingrich. If his campaign's weird Manchurian Delegate strategy pans out, that would be news, but as it is, he feels like the most over-reported candidate in the 2012 election cycle so far.
All the News That's Shit to Print
9:40 PM: Slog tipper Bruce would like to remind you that The New York Times still has a sense of humor: Santorum's wins on their front page are indicated with a nice, shit-brown color:
Click to enlarge.
AP Calls Ohio for Romney
9:30 PM: And so it's official: Romney wins Ohio, by a way-too-close margin. He now leads with twice the delegates of his nearest rival, Rick Santorum—the count right now, according to Huffington Post, is 350 delegates to Santorum's 156. And then there was one: Alaska's caucus results might not be announced until morning.
THE MOST IMPORTANT NEWS OF THE EVENING
9:06 PM: Turns out, Sarah Palin voted for Newt Gingrich. Now that you finally know which candidate earned Palin's vote, you can get some much-needed sleep at last, your mind at ease, knowing that all is right in the conservative world. Shhhhh. Shhhhhhh, now. Rest. You've earned it. Just close your eyes and rest.
I Know How You Feel, Kid
9 PM: Buzzfeed has produced a video of Rick Santorum's son, Patrick, repeatedly yawning during Rick Santorum's speech tonight:
In other Santorum news, multiple sources are reporting that the Santorum campaign is going to ask the Gingrich campaign to surrender so that they can make a charge at Romney with the consolidated Republican support behind them. I bet when Newt Gingrich's people tell him about this plan, all he's going to hear is "Newt Newt Newt Newt Newt Newt Neeeeeewt Gingrich Gingrich Newt GingRICH Newt Newt."
Eww, Eww, Ewwwwww!
8:47 PM: FiveThirtyEight takes a look at something called "The Santorum Belt." Turns out, it's a geographical region down the center of the country that is likelier to vote for Rick Santorum, but it sounds like some kind of a sexual torture device.
The Stranger Is Calling Ohio for Mitt Romney
8:40 PM: Well, Santorum had a good run, but it's clear that Mitt Romney is going to win Ohio, maybe within the quarter-of-a-percentage-point margin of victory that triggers an automatic recount in that state. And Romney wins tonight by every other measure of victory, too: He's cleaning up in delegates from Idaho, Massachusetts, and Virginia, and he's won a respectable portion of delegates in the other states, too. (Santorum, it looks like, didn't meet the minimum percentage for delegates in Georgia.) But no matter how much Romney wins, he looks like a loser as long as he can't convincingly put away these two jackasses in a major contest. He's got to whip Santorum before the media (and mainstream Republicans) can get behind him as his party's nominee. (Romney'd get bonus points if he could get Gingrich to stop talking about himself long enough to look around and realize that he's not going to win the nomination and drop out, too.) The longer this goes on, the worse Romney looks, and his team has to realize that.
It's Not Too Late, Dennis
8:32 PM: Ken Rudin writes on Twitter: "Just a thought: (1) It looks like Dennis Kucinich has lost his primary in Ohio; (2) the filing deadline in Washington State is May 18."
Here's Some Good News for Republicans
8:18 PM: Attendance has been down in a lot of Republican primaries and caucuses this year, but it looks like 1.24 million Ohioans voted in today's primary, which is up from the 1.1 million who voted in 2008. (Of course, a whole lot of Democrats turned out to vote for Santorum today, too, so the number of voters might not be as clear-cut as they first look.)
Mitt Romney Wins State He Would Never, Ever Visit If He Weren't Running for President
Can Anyone Explain What the Fuck Is Going on in This Chart?
7:57 PM: Slog tipper Dan Savage sent along this Talking Point Memo chart, which he says makes his head hurt. Can anyone explain what the fuck is going on in this chart?
Click to Enlarge.
This is a clear sign that everyone is losing their minds tonight.
Ohio Is a Really Tight Santorum Squeaker
7:48 PM: As the results keep coming in from Cleveland, Santorum loses more and more of his lead in Ohio. (And, yes, I know that the final results have very little influence on delegates, but it's the sport of it all that keeps me fixated on this Romney/Santorum tie.) There are two points I'd like to make here as we wait for the total Ohio count to come in:
1. If Newt Gingrich behaved like a normal fucking presidential candidate and cut out of the race, Rick Santorum would be way up in Ohio.
2. Mitt Romney has become the living personification of the phrase "to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory." The media was prepared to declare him the nominee tonight, and somehow he managed to fuck everything up. Even spending twice as much as Santorum did in Ohio, he can't manage to close the fucking deal. If I were a Republican, I'd be very concerned about my candidate's ability to...you know...run a campaign. Heads had better roll at Romney HQ tomorrow for the peace of mind of Republican party elders.
7:23 PM: Dennis Kucinich is losing his congressional primary fight to Democrat Marcy Kaptur, 52% to 44%.
Santorum Surge Hits North Dakota
7:14 PM: Santorum wins North Dakota by what is right now something well over a ten-point margin.
Mitt Romney: Even His Audiences Are Robotic
7:04 PM: Goldy writes in via e-mail: "My god... how choreographed and rehearsed is Romney's audience? Chanting a series of slogans on cue, and cheering with less enthusiasm than a studio audience at a local daytime TV show."
Let's Listen to Mitt Brag About How Much Money He Spent to Win a Handful of States Tonight
6:38 PM: Romney is about to speak in Boston. Someone introducing him says he "destroyed the culture of cronyism" in Massachusetts. (I find that hard to believe, as a former Boston resident. That city is powered by cronyism.) Ann Romney mentions that they're winning Massachusetts by 72%. Then she thanks what promises to be a ridiculously long list of people. Yep. That was a ridiculously long list of people. "She's the best," Mitt says. "She's the best!" Mitt's wearing a pretty electric blue tie with white polka dots. I am a fan of this particular outfit. "We're counting down the delegates and that looks good, and we're counting down to November, and that looks even better," he says. "ALL THE WAY!" the crowd cheers. "My opponents have worked very hard," Romney says. He thanks his opponents, including Ron Paul, who he singles out for "his strong support almost everywhere you go." He praises someone who has "over 100 patents in his name," and says he's an example of what will happen everywhere "if you get government out of the way." He hits Obama on the "stagnant economy," and says "the recession is not over." He says to people who are underwater on loans and out of work, "You have not failed. You have a president who failed you." The crowd chants, "U!S!A!" "Thanks guys," Romney says to them. He says people are struggling to find work while "they're high-fiving each other in the West Wing." The Boston audience is, if anything, a little too rabid in their enthusiasm. Romney doesn't know what to do when they chant between every one of his lines. He just stands there awkwardly and waits or tries to step over them with his next line. "He passed Obamacare, I will repeal Obamacare," Mitt Romney says while standing in a room in a state where he created and eventually passed a government-run health-care program. "I stand ready to lead our nation to prosperity," he says. Man, he really hates the chanting. He talks about "an unshakable optimism" in America, and how we "get up every morning in America and thank God we're Americans." He says they'll go for votes "door by door" and "day by day" and "heart to heart," and that "there'll be good days and there'll be bad days," but eventually they'll have "saved the future." And that's it.
A poll released just days before the vote showed Romney leading Paul 69 percent to 26 percent.
But, with nearly all the votes counted in the Commonwealth, Paul is receiving 41 percent of the vote statewide. That is by far the largest percentage of the vote he has won in any state since he began running for president in 2008. Paul’s previous high was 24 percent in the 2008 Idaho Republican caucuses.
That's big news. That's a clear sign of a Mitt Romney enthusiasm gap.
Live-Slogging Santorum's Self-Love
6:17 PM: Rick Santorum is talking about exercise, which he just did in a high school gym to pump himself up. He seems excited and...almost happy. Somewhere, a liberal must be suffering. This was a big night, he says. "We're gonna get a couple gold medals, and a whoooole passel of silver medals....We have won in the midwest, the west, and the south, and we're ready to win across this country." He thanks his wife, and then kisses her in public—gross! I hate it when straight people rub our faces in it. He says "we have almost all the kids here," and all the kids are wearing buttons for his youngest, Bella, "so we've got everybody here." He says there is not a single state where he spent more money than his opponent. "Ohio is too close to call," he says. "We have a group of people in Washington and in other places around this country who believe...the elites...should make decisions for the rest of us."
He continues, "What right does a government have to do that to the next generation?" Because of Obamacare, "every single American will be looking, not to their churches," not to their friends and neighbors or community centers, "but to those in charge" for help. This, Santorum says, "is the end of freedom in America." That's when "they got you." He rails against "top down government control," in which "they" will "force you" to do things (presumably like buying contraception and other horrors) against your will. Santorum says he's never been for a health care mandate, and the crowd goes wild. "I've never passed a state-wide government run health care program," he says and adds that Romney pushed for an Obamacare mandate in 2009. He says we need a candidate who is "truthful with the American public." "The greatest generation is great because when freedom was at stake, they rose to meet the call," Santorum says. Now freedom is at stake again, as when the Nazis were taking over Europe, because THIS IS EXACTLY LIKE THAT. "We've won races all over this country, against the odds," Santorum says, in a blessedly abbreviated version of Newt's self-aggrandizing speech, "We are in this thing not because I so badly want to be the most powerful man in this country [but because] I so badly want to return the power to you the people." The end! I just noticed that The New York Times has Santorum up by three points in Ohio right now, which could be the big news of the night. Off to the Romney speech live stream!
Santorum Floods Oklahoma
6:08 PM: This is not a surprise, but it's a necessary win for Santorum, who is cleaning up with evangelicals and in poorer states.
Santorum Has a Witty DJ
6:02 PM: CNN is reporting that at Santorum's Ohio rally, when the TVs showed Newt Gingrich speaking at his Georgia rally, the DJ played "Devil Went Down to Georgia."
Santorum Wins Tennessee
5:39 PM: According to CNN, Santorum has spread to Tennessee. This is not a surprise, either, although it's looking like his lead, which was formerly something like twelve points, has narrowed in the last few weeks to something like seven points in some exit polls. We'll have to wait to see how bad Romney does in Tennessee, which was considered his best hope in the south.
Live-Slogging Newt Gingrich's Dumb Victory Lap
5:29 PM: Newt Gingrich is about to speak in Georgia. This oughta be good. Watch along with me, will you? A preacher giving the invocation just blessed this rally in the name of "Jesus the Christ." That was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. And now it's time for "God Bless America," with a weird preamble verse that I've never heard before, which probably makes this extra-patriotic. Wow. This guy's getting really off-key. I mean, "God Bless America" is a tough song, but this is just super-flat. And now he's singing "Georgia on My Mind," in a bad karaoke situation. I'm going to tune out for a second and hope he goes away.
UPDATE 5:37 PM: My plan worked! Gingrich is taking the stage to Hulk Hogan's theme, which has become Newt's theme. After telling the crowd that the only enemy is Barack Obama, Callista introduces her husband, Newt. Man, this guy looks smug tonight. What a huge fucking grin. It's like his whole giant baby head is going to split in half, he's smiling so big. "You know, this is amazing," Gingrich says, saying that he hopes those "analysts" in New York and "Warshington" who said his campaign was dead last summer will learn something from this win. "We survived...because we are not going to let the elite decide who to nominate." Gingrich says "By December, according to Gallup, I was the frontrunner by 15 points...because you believed that people can make a difference and in fact Wall Street money can be beaten by main street work." Then he hits Romney for his negative campaign, and says his poll numbers dropped to 14% after Romney's smear campaign in Iowa. Then the elite declared Gingrich dead after Iowa, and then he won in South Carolina. Gingrich then says the Wall Street people decided they had to "eviscerate" him. NEWT GINGRICH IS RECAPPING THE ENTIRE PRIMARY FOR US RIGHT NOW. Santorum rose, Gingrich said, and the elites took that to mean that Gingrich was dead again. But now he dominates in Georgia, and he thanks Herman Cain and Todd Palin, among others, for their help. "The very first race they called tonight, about fifteen seconds after the polls closed," Gingrich says, was Georgia. They're standing in the ballroom where Gingrich was when he learned he'd be the first Republican speaker of the House in decades. The "elites," Gingrich says, didn't know why Republicans were pushing ideas back in 94. He says tomorrow is a new chapter in the "fight for the soul of the Republican Party."
"Let me be clear. I believe that I am the one candidate who has the ability to debate Barack Obama decisively," Gingrich says to big cheers. He says he doesn't believe "the Romney technique" of outspending opponents is going to work against Barack Obama, but Gingrich can best Barack Obama with sheer will. "In the morning," he says, "we are going on to Alabama, we're going on to Mississippi, we're going on to Kansas, and that's just this week."
And now it's time for the Gingrich stump speech, beginning with his weird promise to lower gas to two-fifty a gallon and chastising the president for "bowing to a Saudi king." He manipulates Barack Obama's statement to a Fox News reporter that no president would want gas prices to be higher from this morning into a claim that Obama just wants to lower the gas prices to win a second term. Wow! First, he claimed Barack Obama wanted gas prices to be higher and then when the president refuted that claim, he became crass and political. You can't win when you're up against Newt. Newt tells his audience to tell their friends that $2.50-a-gallon gas isn't pandering, it's "clearly do-able." Maybe Mr. Open Marriage shouldn't use the phrase "clearly do-able" in a speech, unless he wants it to show up in a YouTube remix the next day. "With your help, we're going to go on to Tampa and win the nomination. Thank you, good luck, and God bless you," he says, and finally our long national nightmare is over. Wow. The beginning of that speech, where he crowed about winning his own home state and recounting all the times that the "elites" counted him out, was painfully smug, even for a Gingrich rally.
So, Not Romney, Then
5:21 PM: Sarah Palin caucused in Wasilla, but she won't say who she voted for, adding that she'd like "to see the process continue." I can't believe she won't even endorse someone, for Christ's sake. Is she worried, at this late date, that she'll look like a dumbass? Is her reputation as a Fox News talking head at stake? Will she get behind Romney when the others are finally out of the race? And why am I even asking these fucking questions about someone who holds no office and hasn't done anything of note since she retired halfway through her term as governor of Alaska? Answers are unclear.
It's a Clean Sweep of Liberal Sissy-land
5:08 PM: Romney won Vermont, too. He absolutely dominates among northern moderate Republicans, when there are no Democrats in the race.
Ron Paul Is Giving a Victory Speech, or Something, and I Am Live-Slogging It
4:40 PM: CNN is playing Ron Paul's speech in North Dakota. I guess it's a victory speech? Anyway: Ron Paul says he wants to protect your internet. "We are the biggest debtor nation in the history of the world," he says, and "there's never been a bigger lack of desire for more spending." This is the buildup to Paul's suggestion to cut the budget by one trillion dollars, getting rid of "free housing, free food, free medical care" that's expected in the entitlement society. The idea of "returning the country to the principles of liberty" is an idea whose time has come, Paul says. He's wearing a nice, wide 1970s tie, and his suit, as always, looks way too big. Paul basically said that if he had to choose which to cut spending for, he would stop spending our money overseas, and then cut our money at home. He's going on about how he wants to wean America off Medicare and Medicaid. We don't need an embassy in Baghdad, he says—"That's only going to lead to trouble"—and we should spend that money back home. This is not the most enthusiastic crowd Ron Paul has ever spoken to, I've got to say. We've been "careless" about "the erosion of our liberties," which started with 9/11, according to Paul. "Al Qaeda was not in Iraq," he says, and the same people are eager to invade Syria and Iran. He talks up the fight against SOPA and PIPA, adding "and besides, how are we going to spread our message without the internet? (Crazy giggle.)" The answer, Paul says, is to "read the Constitution" because "liberty brings people together." Wow. I've seen quite a few Ron Paul speeches—live and streamed—and this is among his worst. The audience isn't giving him much of anything, and he's scatterbrained, stuttering and dropping his lines. Anyway, back to the speech: If we all read the Constitution and live in liberty, the rest of the world will want to emulate us, so that's Ron Paul's foreign policy. It's very factual, you know. Okay, and that's it.There was none of the chanting that accompanies a Paul speech usually—not one rally of "PRESIDENT! PAUL! PRESIDENT! PAUL" or "END THE FED! END THE FED!" Oh, well. At least it's over.
Meanwhile, in Crazy Republican Base Land...
4:32 PM: Rush Limbaugh has lost two more advertisers. After his wishy-washy statement about not agreeing with Limbaugh's language, I can't wait for Mitt Romney's big speech about contraception. The press had better force Romney to face this issue, and it could result in Romney's first big break with the crazy Republican base in the 2012 election cycle.
Romney Wins Virginia
4:18 PM: NBC is calling Virginia for Mitt Romney. Since Gingrich and Santorum couldn't make the ballot in Virginia, this is not a surprise. I'm curious to see how much Romney beat Ron Paul, the only other candidate in the race. Aaron Blake at The Fix is saying that early turnout shows 40% of the vote is going to Paul. If that holds up that's Paul's biggest turnout in a primary by far, and it's more proof that Republicans will vote for anyone—even Ron Paul, for God's sake—rather than vote for Romney. Huffington Post says that Ron Paul is winning previously undecided voters who finally made up their minds today, by 53%.
Newt Wins Georgia
4:05 PM: CNN, Politico, the AP, and a bunch of other outlets are announcing that Newt Gingrich has won Georgia. Told you so. My big question now is: What the hell does Newt do next? He talked up Texas a few months back, but the Texas primary isn't until May 29th. Even that ten million dollar hot cash injection Gingrich got from Sheldon Adelson in the middle of last month can't last that long. Maybe he'll provide a road map during his speech. Meanwhile. Fox News just Tweeted something interesting: Gingrich won every demographic in Georgia "except those who said strong moral character was most important." That's some kind of diss.
At Least He's Well-Rested
4:03 PM: One of the first announcements of the night will probably be the news that Newt Gingrich wins Georgia. He's been campaigning there almost exclusively for a week or so, he's a native son who's beloved by many Republicans there, and he's spent a ton of money to make sure he wins it. But CNN is providing a livestream of Gingrich headquarters, and it looks pretty dire. I count maybe twenty-five people in front of the stage. If the networks announce that Gingrich wins Georgia early on, he'll be giving his gloat-filled victory speech to a nearly empty ballroom. But at least we know that Gingrich is well-rested for his big speech: He took a nap on a live camera feed this morning before addressing AIPAC.
3:55 PM: As I told you this morning, the polls are about to close in Georgia, Vermont, and Virginia, which means it's time for Slog's Super Tuesday coverage to begin. In order to save you from a litany of tiny and basically inconsequential Slog headlines—"North Dakota's Two Voters Enter the Twenty-Fifth Hour of Their Impasse," and so on—all of our Super Tuesday posts will be right here, in this post. The newest news will always be on top. Keep refreshing this post to find all our live-Slogging of candidate speeches, results coverage, and other super-themed content, and put your comments in the comment-hole below.