- Grove City, Pennsylvania


February 8, 2012

Romney's on the move; eyes are on S. Carolina

The eyes of the Republican Party are now firmly fixed on South Carolina, which holds its primary on Jan. 21. But as important as the voting itself, is the expectations game that's played out in advance of every one of these contests.

Mitt Romney's eight-vote margin of victory in Iowa Jan. 3 wasn't impressive - except, his camp was quick to point out, he was an also-ran four years ago and didn't spend much time campaigning there this time.

And the former governor's 16-point win over runner-up Ron Paul in New Hampshire on Tuesday was an even better story, his handlers asserted, because it marked the first time since 1976 a non-incumbent Republican had finished first in both Iowa and the Granite State.

The expectations are much lower for Romney in South Carolina, where the "Massachusetts moderate" label pinned on him by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich could influence voters more negatively that it did our neighbors to the north.

On the other hand, those judged more conservative, like Rick Santorum (whose second-place finish made him winner of the expectations game in Iowa); Gingrich (who, like Romney in New Hampshire, should have a certain advantage being from the state next door); and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, will have to make a respectable showing for their candidacies to remain viable.

"Anyone but Mitt," was the mantra among certain Republicans for much of 2011, which is what led to the inexplicable rise of candidates like Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann.

But a growing segment of the Grand Old Party seems to be coming around to the view that Romney represents the best, if not only, chance of unseating President Barack Obama in November.

It's all about expectations and priorities.

The Salem (Mass.) News

Published Jan. 18, 2012, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.

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