Romney wins key US vote, blasts Obama

2012-01-11 07:44

Manchester - Mitt Romney stormed on Tuesday to a commanding win in New Hampshire's Republican presidential primary, making him the clear favourite to take on President Barack Obama in November.

The former Massachusetts governor and millionaire venture capitalist immediately looked to South Carolina's January 21 primary, hoping a victory there and in Florida on January 31 could effectively anoint him the nominee.

Obama "has run out of ideas. Now, he's running out of excuses. And tonight, we are asking the good people of South Carolina to join the citizens of New Hampshire and make 2012 the year he runs out of time", he declared.

Public opinion polls showed Romney leading his more conservative rivals in both of the next battlegrounds - large states where his well-oiled, well-funded campaign machine could roll up the opposition.

Based on partial results, Romney was set to win here easily - the first time since 1976 that a Republican candidate who is not an incumbent president won this contest and the Iowa caucuses that precede it.

With 83% of the ballots counted, Romney was storming to victory with some 39% of the vote.

After surviving a furious 11th-hour onslaught from his Republican rivals, who tarred him as a callous corporate raider who put people out of work, Romney defiantly trumpeted his business experience as his number-one asset.

"Make no mistake, in this campaign, I will offer the American ideals of economic freedom a clear and unapologetic defence," said Romney.

Sagging US economy

Romney has insisted that his private sector triumphs make him the best person to take on Obama, whose re-election bid is weighed down by the sagging US economy and high unemployment.

Obama "wants to put free enterprise on trial. In the last few days, we have seen some desperate Republicans join forces with him. This is such a mistake for our party and for our nation", he declared.

"This country already has a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy. We must offer an alternative vision. I stand ready to lead us down a different path, where we are lifted up by our desire to succeed, not dragged down by a resentment of success," said Romney.

Veteran Representative Ron Paul of Texas, a small-government champion whose opposition to overseas military interventions has rankled the party's establishment, was expected to come in second with around 23%.

"We're nibbling at his heels!" Paul told a rowdy crowd of supporters, who chanted "President Paul!"

"We have had a victory for the cause of liberty tonight," he said.

Former US envoy to China Jon Huntsman, who bet his political fortunes on a strong showing here, was on track to come in third with around 17%, after a late surge tied to a strong weekend debate performance and a new-found combativeness.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I think we're in the hunt!" he said at a rally. "I'd say third place is a ticket to ride!"

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich was in fourth place at 10%, with Christian conservative former senator Rick Santorum close behind at nine percent.

Texas Governor Rick Perry, who skipped New Hampshire to go directly to South Carolina, clung to 1%.

Daunting challenge

"We're going to go on to South Carolina," vowed Santorum.

Gingrich also pledged to fight on in South Carolina, acknowledging the "daunting challenge" ahead but saying, "I will do everything I can to win the opportunity to represent you this fall in debating and then defeating Barack Obama".

At Gingrich's sparsely attended and subdued post-primary party, his supporters openly expressed disappointment.

"I hope he goes on to do well in South Carolina. I don't know if he can go on a lot longer. It may be Mitt all the way. But you never know," said Gail Gorham, 73, a retired homemaker from Derry.

"I don't think Mitt will do well in the South," said Linda Dupree, 64, a manufacturing worker from Campton. "Just because Romney won two states doesn't mean the whole thing is over."

A vast campaign war chest and high-profile endorsements have fed Romney's image as the man to beat, but he faces stubborn doubts about his conservative credentials and has been unable to push his nationwide Republican support above 30%.

In South Carolina, Romney may face stiff resistance from conservatives who think he is a flip-flopper and from evangelical Christians wary of his Mormon faith, but he also has the backing of Governor Nikki Haley.

The mood at Romney's rally was exuberant, and the normally stiff candidate even allowed himself a moment to dance as his supporters sang along to Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline".

Obama meanwhile faced no serious competition in the Democratic primaries here - his slate of 13 rivals included Craig 'Tax Freeze' Freis and Vermin Supreme, an eccentric who spent the last few days going to Republican rallies and heckling the candidates with a bullhorn.

  • Alec - 2012-01-11 08:11

    Romney has appeal because he will spew whatever is selling, ala the McCandidate. Come to think of it, its just like Mormons, with their "doctrine of ongoing revelation." Civil Rights movement got you down? The Prophet just had a vision and black folks are okay now! Federal Government threatening to confiscate the assets? The Prophet just had a vision and we have to dump the polygamy! No firm beliefs or convictions, just whatever floats the boat.

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-01-11 09:04

      I had to smile when seeing your comment. Not for what you said, but for the thumbs against it. I do not do too much effort following the American politics, but I am convince most of these "down marks" are from people who do not understand fully what you said, or are "word-spotters" and react on what they think you said. I also red somewhere that he is a floater and makes everyone excited until a real opponent emerge with real principles, but reading that still does not made me "informed". I fully agree with your last sentences and only for that you will get a thumbs up. I must state only for that because I do not know enough, neither do I want to sound informed when I am not.

      Ray - 2012-01-11 09:27

      Someone once said "In the USA wealth brings political power and in Africa political power brings wealth"

      Louwhan - 2012-01-11 11:17

      @ Alec - Classic. @Ray - it used to be like taht but there is almost no differennce between Africa and USA as far as corrution and crony capitalism is concerned. There is only 1 man that can change things in a big way and his name is RON PAUL - speaking about prophets, check out this link I am following the US primary almost more than the MSM - this could really be a make or break election!!!

      Nick - 2012-01-11 15:38

      "Liberty means you have a right to your life, and your privacy, and the way you want to live your life – as long as you don't hurt people" Ron Paul. "Freedom is a wonderful idea..." "You have a right to keep and spend your money the way you want to..." The good man has come a brilliant 2nd in New Hampshire – a state where Mitt Romney was always going to win. He has comfortably beaten off all the other establishment candidates.. Yet – even when coming 2nd – he is dismissed and almost ignored by CNN and the other news networks – the establishment big media.. He is genuinely a true free-thinker – unlike all the empty promises of change by Obama in 2008 – only to succumb to the establishment as President – well – Ron Paul is the only hope for the US – he genuinely is all about changing the status quo in Washington, the control over society of government, big banks, Wall Street, the Federal Reserve etc.. This man will truly change America's foreign policy too – he does not see the US as the "world's policeman" – pulling troops out of every conflict around the globe.. And – most importantly – infinitely greater civil liberties and FREEDOMS – freedoms of choice – for all citizens! Big media call him "un-electable" - they want the American people to think that – to bluff them into not thinking for themselves – such is how they fear his message can truly 'catch fire' - and create an unprecedented 'wave' of support across both parties and Independants – sweeping him to victory. :)

  • cyanideandhappiness - 2012-01-11 08:59

    The only candidate worth anything is Congressman Ron Paul. He's easily chipping away at Romneys support because he actually talks about real issues deeply with proper intention to resolve them! I encourage anyone who is slightly curious to watch this video or read the full transcript from his speech here to truly understand the brilliance of this man and why the establishment is so scared of him:

  • GWS - 2012-01-11 09:00

    The Republicans need to get those US soldiers into Somalia and a smaller force back into Iraq before the Philistines regroup. The brown stuff is already hitting the fan in Iraq as extremists are once again taking control.

      Louwhan - 2012-01-11 11:25

      If a foreign nation just bombed the s...t out of you and has wiped out a couple of million of your fellow countrymen doing more harm to your nation than Saddam could or would ever do, would you call yourself an extremist for fighting back? Google blowback and see why the USA has to "Protect" its citizens from these nasty terrorists. The fun does not stop there, in order to protect the good people of America, they had to give up their libirty (patriot act) Good luck America, hope most of you wake up before giving the Obamney team 4 more years.

      Blade - 2012-01-11 11:29

      "couple of million"? Facts please...

      Louwhan - 2012-01-11 12:20

      Here you go Blade That is a million since 2003. Now add that to the first Gulf war, total isolation (even the cross) from the first to the second gulf war and to add some more millions you can go back to Iran 1953 coup overthrowing Mohammad Mosaddegh. Add the Iran and Iraq war to the conflict where our American friends played a close to DIRECT role and you have more deaths by than people alive in a country like Austria.Most Americans are peace loving people but the MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX with the money mongers have NO SOUL.

      brianmacza - 2012-01-11 12:24

      see for stats on civilian losses in Iraq. This doesn't include Iraq military headcount.

      antoinette.jordaan - 2012-01-11 14:24

      Actually, there's a really cool t-shirt that I am trying to get a hold of......United States of America, The Tour....and then a list of every single country they have had a war with or's quite a list :)

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