***UPDATE*** Romney edges Santorum by eight votes to win Iowa caucuses.
It begins. Very tight race between Romney, Paul and Santorum. Tight battle for 4th between Gingrich and Perry. Check back for reaction from the Breitbart world throughout the night.
Joel Pollak: Editor, Breitbart.com:
Tonight, the first votes were cast to replace Barack Obama. The “story” is Rick Santorum’s hard-earned success, but the most exciting part of the Iowa caucuses for me was watching the Big Government live stream from a caucus in Ames. It was refreshing to hear people argue for their candidates in their own words. I thought Rick Perry and Mitt Romney had excellent representatives, both of whom spoke from the heart and with few prepared remarks. Rick Santorum’s representative emphasized social issues, which may help explain Santorum’s strong finish but may also limit his appeal in other states. Romney also has to be pleased with his strong finish–in Ames and elsewhere–which was not always a given. The race is still Romney versus not-Romney–and we’ll see if Santorum can sustain his momentum. Again, though, the most impressive part of tonight’s process was watching people take the democratic process into their own hands, rather than leaving it to media filters and debate moderators.
Mike Flynn: Editor, BigGovernment.com:
Iowa voters are peculiar. Tonight they have provided mostly more confusion in the race. While Romney may still pull out victory, I’d have to score him one of the big losers of the night. He had a photo finish after spending millions against a fairly weak field. Worse, after spending weeks downplaying Iowa, he claimed he would win it. Rare lack of discipline for his campaign. More ominously, he’s still stuck at the 25% he got in 2008 and in almost every national poll. He still faces a situation where 75% of voters don’t want him as the nominee. He is going to have to shift gears and fight for the nomination now.
Santorum is obviously the big winner tonight. He should enjoy his strong showing (possible win). I’ll have more to say on him later, but feel he should enjoy his moment now.
Gingrich did fairly well, considering the barrage against him. Perry under performed. I admit I’m surprised by that. He has the best bio, the best record and the best positions. He needs a very strong showing in South Carolina to stay in the race.
One curiosity of this campaign is why no candidate attacked Romney. Ridiculous strategic mistake.