There's only a few hours left before the Iowa caucuses, which means in a few hours, the Iowa Caucuses are going to happen. Time for stressed out candidates, left to marinate over the holiday weekend in the brine of their own uncertainty, to play what is called "the expectations game!" Who thought who was going to win in Iowa? Well on Monday, Mitt Romney was in Marion, confidently predicting that Iowa would anoint him and send him on to the nomination:
"You guys, I need you tomorrow night," he told more than 600 people packed into an asphalt company’s truck garage. "I need every single vote in this room, and I need you to get a couple of other votes in your neighborhood, get them to caucus. I need a great showing here in Cedar Rapids. We’re going to win this thing with all our passion and strength and do everything we can to get this campaign on the right track to go across the nation, and to pick up the states and to get the ballots I need and the votes I need to become our nominee."
Or did he? Apparently, when Romney said that he was "going to win this thing," he wasn't actually talking about the Iowa caucuses, but some other, less well defined "thing." Politico, in updating their own post on Romney predicting a win, says that the concepts of "thing" and "state" is a "a distinction that comes with a difference." Is it though? Because if so, it would be great to know what "thing" Romney needs the help of Iowans to "win" so that he can "become our nominee." Especially if that "thing" is not the Iowa caucuses, because right now, a whole ton of reporters are in Iowa under the assumption that the Iowa caucuses are that "thing."
Romney's pulled back further still in the meantime, saying that he'll "be among the top group."
Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich, whose time atop the polls in Iowa turned out to be even shorter-lived than those who had come before him, was sounding a more downcast note at the same time Romney was being prematurely upbeat:
Newt Gingrich says he doesn't expect to win Tuesday's Iowa caucuses after being battered by millions of dollars in negative ads.
Gingrich told reporters Monday that the "volume of negativity" by his rivals and their allies had done its damage. He then went on to say: "I don't think I'm going to win."
But today, Newt is walking that back as well:
So, as best as I can explain it, Newt Gingrich The Analyst thinks Newt Gingrich The Candidate is doomed because of all the negative ads that have been run against Newt Gingrich The Candidate. Newt Gingrich The Candidate, by contrast, thinks that Newt Gingrich The Analyst is full of it, and could still win. We'll have to wait to hear what Newt Gingrich The Historian has to say about all of this, but I'm guessing that Newt Gingrich The Historian will look back on Newt Gingrich The Candidate's time in Iowa as a time that exposed how awful the political discourse has become because of unlimited corporate money in politics.
(Later, Newt Gingrich The Historian will be challenged to "seven three-hour Lincoln-Douglas style debates" by Newt Gingrich The Supporter Of The Citizens United Decision.)
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