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2012: Romney's decisive win in NH

Near final results (95% in) from New Hampshire show Romney with a significant win, finishing with 39%, followed by Ron Paul at 23%, Jon Huntsman further back with 17%, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum at 9%.

The front page of the New Hampshire Union Leader has a photo of Mitt Romney with a broad smile and pointing. Headline: “It’s Mitt by a mile; Paul surges to second.”

The State newspaper in South Carolina: “New Hampshire has spoken; now, it’s S.C.’s turn.” The paper’s lede: “South Carolinians, be careful where you step over the next 10 days. You might trip over a Republican presidential candidate.”

“You can’t vote early in South Carolina’s Republican presidential primary, but you can vote absentee if you meet certain requirements,” The State newspaper writes. “You can vote absentee in person or by mail. The deadline to vote in person is 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20. … The deadline to vote absentee by mail is Tuesday, Jan. 17.”

The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza, per Political Wire, says blame Bush for a weak Republican field: "A successful Presidency can produce a new crop of future Presidential candidates for the party that controls the White House. The vice president and cabinet officials, as well as governors and senators elected over the course of the administration, are historically major sources for a party's next round of candidates. The Bush years had the opposite effect. It was unthinkable that his vice president would run for higher office and much of his cabinet left Washington tainted by the President's unpopularity. Moreover, Bush helped sink his party in the 2006 and 2008 elections, thus depleting the ranks of potential Republican candidates for 2012."

Tim Tebow “told The Associated Press on Monday — a day after leading Denver to a heart-stopping win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the NFL playoffs — that several candidates had reached out to him for endorsements,” the New York Daily News writes.

GINGRICH: “Mitt Romney is depicted as a financier ‘more ruthless than Wall Street’ and a son of privilege responsible for firing thousands of workers in a film bankrolled by Newt Gingrich supporters set to be released today in South Carolina,” Bloomberg’s Joshua Green writes.

HUNTSMAN: Despite the confetti and declarations of “ticket to ride” by Huntsman, some supporters weren’t fooled. “Several supporters said they were disappointed in a third-place finish -- given the intense effort Huntsman put in in the state,” the Boston Globe reports. “ ‘I was hoping it would be second place,’ said Karen Schmidt, a stay-at-home mother and independent voter from Hollis, N.H. But Schmidt said she remained hopeful that Huntsman would continue fighting.”

“Third place was just fine with Jon Huntsman,” the New Hampshire Union Leader writes. “The former Utah governor and two-time U.S. ambassador celebrated his third-place finish in the New Hampshire primary almost like he had won it.” U2’s “Beautiful Day” blared, Huntsman declared he had a “ticket to ride,” and confetti rained down on the third-place finisher and supporters.

AP: “Jon Huntsman may have clawed his way to a third-place finish in New Hampshire, but he must overcome major challenges to remain competitive in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.”

PAUL: “With a strong second-place showing in New Hampshire, Texas Congressman Ron Paul has emerged as the alternative to Mitt Romney, elated supporters said Tuesday night,” the New Hampshire Union Leader writes, adding, “Paul's support was strong in rural areas.”

In fact, the order in nine of 10 counties was Romney, Paul, Huntsman except for Coos, the northernmost county bordering Canada where Paul won.

PERRY: AP’s headline: “Southern son Rick Perry banks on heritage in SC.”

Reuters: "After rejection in Iowa and surrender in New Hampshire, Republican Rick Perry has pinned his fading presidential hopes on a long-shot resurrection in deeply conservative South Carolina.” Per Political Wire, Perry said: "Give me a second look. Look at my record."

Perry faced very tough questioning from FOX’s Sean Hannity on his Bain attacks, per GOP 12.

ROMNEY: “A week after his whisker-thin Iowa victory failed to quiet doubts about his candidacy, Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire primary by a decisive margin tonight and vaulted closer to the Republican nomination as the race turns toward a tough, new proving ground: socially conservative South Carolina,” the Boston Globe writes.

The Globe also writes in a separate piece that he “faces a treacherous path to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, even after his historic, back-to-back victories in Iowa and New Hampshire. The race now heads to Dixie, where Southerners view the Iowa and New Hampshire contests as little more than entertaining warm-ups for the real trial yet to come.”

But the Globe’s Johnson notes: “True, he faces a grueling 11-day campaign in South Carolina, where Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Perry will triple tag-team him in a last-ditch stand among more hospitable social conservatives. But with back-to-back wins in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, Romney is rapidly approaching the tipping point where party thought leaders, fence-sitting voters, and big-monied donors begin to jump on the bandwagon of inevitability.”

And, the New York Daily News’ DeFrank: “Realistically, the only thing that can stop Mitt Romney now are salacious pictures on Twitter. Not likely for the strait-laced ex-Massachusetts governor.”

John Podhoretz in the New York Post writes: “Perplexing but true: Mitt Romney is on the glide path to the most easily secured nomination a Republican presidential candidate has ever had — while being one of the weakest major candidates either party has ever seen.”

AP: “Mitt Romney's back-to-back victories in Iowa and New Hampshire will force his weak-but-still-standing GOP rivals to make a crucial decision: Keep eviscerating the man that many see as the inevitable nominee, or temper their criticisms and dampen whatever hopes they have of overtaking him.”

“After savoring victory in New Hampshire for a few hours, Mitt Romney dug in for a bruising fight in South Carolina with rivals determined to bloody him, even if they can’t beat him,” the New York Daily News reports, adding, “The former Massachusetts governor can put the GOP nomination on lockdown with a win in South Carolina on Jan. 21, but to do so he will have to overcome a tougher test with voters and withering assaults from competitors made desperate by his back-to-back wins.”

The New Hampshire Union Leader: “Campaign aides were concerned about complacency among supporters Tuesday, but an intensive get-out-the-vote effort conducted over the weekend, with hundreds of volunteers making thousands of phone calls, seemed to do the trick.”

The Globe reports, according to fundraisers, that Romney raised $25 million in the last quarter.

SANTORUM: The Hill: “Rick Santorum gambled, and lost, by campaigning in New Hampshire following his strong second-place showing in Iowa. A lot of Santorum’s hard-earned Iowa momentum has been lost after a rough week in New Hampshire, a libertarian-leaning state that was always going to be an uphill battle for the social conservative.”