Former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) officially won the Iowa caucuses Thursday — 16 days after the last vote was cast — when state GOP officials said a final count showed him 34 votes ahead of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
That was a shift from the preliminary results announced after the Jan. 3 caucuses, which showed Romney winning Iowa by eight votes.
State officials said they still had not received any results from eight of the state’s 1,774 precincts. But now, they said, it was too late for the missing votes to count....
State GOP officials Thursday even seemed to cast doubt on their own final results: in a statement announcing the vote totals, state party chairman Matt Strawn avoided using the word “winner.” Instead, he simply “congratulated” Santorum and Romney “on a hard-fought effort during the closest contest in caucus history.”CNN reports:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry suspended his struggling presidential campaign Thursday and threw his support to Newt Gingrich, a development that could alter the dynamics of the Republican race just two days before the tightening South Carolina primary.
"I believe Newt is a conservative visionary who can transform our country. We've had our differences, which campaigns will inevitably have, and Newt is not perfect, but who among us is?" Perry said at a press conference in Charleston, South Carolina.It would have been a good day for Newt, except that his ex-wife filled in the details on the "not perfect" part. Brian Ross reports at ABC:
Newt Gingrich lacks the moral character to serve as President, his second ex-wife Marianne told ABC News, saying his campaign positions on the sanctity of marriage and the importance of family values do not square with what she saw during their 18 years of marriage.
In her first television interview since the 1999 divorce, to be broadcast tonight on Nightline, Marianne Gingrich, a self-described conservative Republican, said she is coming forward now so voters can know what she knows about Gingrich.
CLICK HERE to see a preview of ABC News' exclusive broadcast interview with Marianne Gingrich and then catch the full interview tonight on ABC News' Nightline at 11:35 p.m. ET.More from James Grimaldi at The Washington Post:
Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich in 1999 asked his second wife for an “open marriage” or a divorce at the same time he was giving speeches around the country on family and religious values, his former wife, Marianne, told The Washington Post on Thursday.
Marianne Gingrich said she first heard from the former speaker about the divorce request as she was waiting in the home of her mother on May 11, 1999, her mother’s 84th birthday. Over the phone, as she was having dinner with her mother, Newt Gingrich said, “I want a divorce.”
Shocked, Marianne Gingrich replied: “Is there anybody else?” she recalled. “He was quiet. Within two seconds, when he didn’t immediately answer, I knew.”
The next day, Newt Gingrich gave a speech titled “The Demise of American Culture” to the Republican Women Leaders Forum in Erie, Pa., extolling the virtues of the founding fathers and criticizing liberal politicians for supporting tax increases, saying they hurt families and children.
“When a liberal talks about values, will he or she actually like us to teach American history?” Newt Gingrich told the women’s group. “Will they actually like young people to learn that George Washington was an ethical man? A man of standards, a man who earned the right to be father of this country?”