January 21st, 2012
12:20 AM ET

Iowa GOP officials declare Rick Santorum winner of Iowa caucuses

The Iowa Republican Party officially declares Rick Santorum the winner of the Iowa caucuses late Friday.

Initial returns gave Mitt Romney a eight-vote margin of victory over Santorum, giving the former Massachusetts governor a major momentum boost heading into the New Hampshire primary.

However, a recount later gave Santorum a 34-vote advantage over Romney in Iowa. The news comes as voters head to the polls Saturday for the South Carolina primary.

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Filed under: Elections • Iowa • Mitt Romney • Politics • Rick Santorum
January 20th, 2012
03:00 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Gingrich's fiery rebuttal makes debate night more memorable

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Emotions ran high during CNN's GOP debate Thursday night in South Carolina. Readers posted more than 10,000 comments. One topic dominated them all: Newt Gingrich's feisty reaction to a question about an ex-wife's allegations from the moderator, CNN's John King. Let's take a look at what people are saying as the dust settles:

Gingrich delivers showstopper at beginning of South Carolina debate

The following commenter was proud of Gingrich during that moment:

therealoc: "I stood up and cheered when Newt Gingrich responded that the media has protected (President Barack) Obama and has been after every conservative. Where was CNN in 2008 when there was ample opportunity to research the past life of John Edwards and Barack Obama?"

Another said Gingrich shouldn't receive too much praise.

Donaldbain: "Let's be clear here. Gingrich's response was by no means a 'showstopper.' It was an angry response by someone who knows he is guilty. The 'anger response' is used to make people stop asking questions. He didn't answer the question and berated the moderator for asking it. It is called obfuscating, something he is good at. He has no business trying to stand for president, and he knows it."

Omekongo Dibinga of Washington was among the CNN iReporters who shared their views on video. Dibinga said he doesn't support Gingrich's stances but felt such a personal question was inappropriate. FULL POST

January 20th, 2012
12:59 AM ET

Truth Squad: 4 checks on Thursday's GOP debate

CNN examines statements by Republican presidential candidates during Monday night's CNN Southern Republican Debate in Charleston, South Carolina.

Rick Santorum on President Obama's budget cuts

The statement: "We have the president of the United States who said he is going to cut veterans benefits, cut our military, at a time when these folks are four, five, six, seven tours, coming back, in and out of jobs, sacrificing everything for this country.  And the president of the United States can't cut one penny out of the social welfare system and he wants to cut a trillion dollars out of our military and hit our veterans, and that's disgusting."


January 19th, 2012
07:50 AM ET

Final Iowa results show Santorum with 34-vote lead

[Updated at 11:09 a.m. ET] Rick Santorum finished the Iowa Republican caucuses 34 votes ahead of Mitt Romney, but results from several precincts are missing and the full actual results may never be known, according to a final certified tally released Thursday by the Iowa GOP.

The new numbers show 29,839 votes for Santorum and 29,805 votes for Romney, according to the party.

The initial returns from Iowa gave Romney a razor-thin 8-vote margin of victory over Santorum, reinforcing the former Massachusetts governor's frontrunner status and giving him a major momentum boost heading into the New Hampshire primaries. Romney went on to win New Hampshire easily, allegedly making him the first non-incumbent Republican in modern history to win the first two contests of the cycle.

Now history is being rewritten, casting a shadow over the first-in-the-nation caucuses and potentially shaking up the GOP race two days before the critical South Carolina primary.

News of the new results is "very exciting," Santorum campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley told CNN. "The narrative for a long time has been that Mitt Romney was 2-0. ... If these results are true and Rick is ahead by 34 votes, then that's not the narrative anymore. There have been two states, two different victors."

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Filed under: Mitt Romney • Politics • Republican Party • Rick Santorum
Overheard on CNN.com: Controversy over Romney's returns ignites taxation debate
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, right, urged GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to release his tax returns.
January 18th, 2012
06:05 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Controversy over Romney's returns ignites taxation debate

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

One story about Mitt Romney's estimation that he has an effective tax rate of about 15% drew more than 13,000 comments. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a supporter, has called for Romney to release his tax returns, and the South Carolina GOP race is heating up. Romney mentioned that he made about $375,000 in speaker fees, which he called "not very much." Commenters debated whether current tax policies are fair, and they also discussed Romney's views about perceived income disparities.

Mitt Romney's tricky taxes

Romney's money comes from mostly investment-related sources, so his tax rates are somewhat lower than the rate on wages. Fortune's Dan Primack says such lower tax rates (like capital gains rates for profits on investments) are intended to reward taking on the risk of investment and being in business, but also suggests there are loopholes that give some people tax breaks without assuming enough risk to justify it. Readers debated the finer points of taxation policy.

black743: "This isn't a loophole. You invest, you pay 15% on the capital gains. What's so hard to understand about that? He doesn't get a paycheck anymore, he's retired. This is a 15% tax on capital gains of investments. Why can't you people get that through your heads? I would love to see one of you suddenly come into wealth. I'm sure you would just give 35% to the IRS out of the goodness of your hearts, right? I'm so sick of this wealth envy in this country. If we keep raising capital gains taxes on investments, then it's quite easy for folks to just invest in other countries and leave America high and dry."

terre08: "You are wrong. Almost all of his income from Bain was taxed at 15% due to lax regulations when it comes to equity firms. He has a 'pension' as well from Bain where he pays 15% as well for the same reason. It is obviously not called a pension."

The following reader argued capital gains taxes could be raised, since the rates have been higher in the past. (Some are proposing to raise these rates in the future, while others seek to lower them or eliminate the tax entirely.) FULL POST

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Filed under: Business • Economy • Finance • Mitt Romney • Overheard on CNN.com • Politics • Republican Party • Taxes
January 18th, 2012
01:15 PM ET

Christie urges Romney to release tax returns quickly

One of Mitt Romney's top GOP supporters urged the former Massachusetts governor on Wednesday to release his tax returns as soon as possible, arguing that full and rapid disclosure is the best strategy for the Republican front-runner.

"I would say if you have tax returns to put out, you know, you should put them out sooner rather than later, because it's always better in my view to have complete disclosure, especially as the front-runner," New Jersey Gov. Christie said on NBC's "Today Show."

"The most relevant information is the most recent," Christie argued.

On Tuesday, Romney caved to mounting pressure from both Democrats and Republicans, agreeing to release his returns after the Internal Revenue Service's April filing deadline. Romney, a former venture capitalist believed to be worth as much as $250 million, said he would provide voters with his most recent tax information.

Romney told reporters he "probably" paid a tax rate of 15% last year, since his income is derived primarily from investments. Most Americans' income is generated from workplace wages, requiring them in many cases to pay a much higher percentage of their income to the federal government.

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Filed under: Mitt Romney • Politics • Republican Party
January 17th, 2012
06:45 AM ET

Truth Squad: 3 checks on Monday's GOP debate

CNN examines three statements by Republican presidential candidates during Monday night's Fox News-Wall Street Journal debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Romney on releasing his tax returns

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said he probably would release a tax return in April - though he declined to commit - asserting that recent GOP nominees waited until tax season in election years.

Romney's statement about his tax return came after Texas Gov. Rick Perry pushed him to release his tax information, saying his was already out.

"Mitt, we need for you to release your income tax so the people of this country can see how you made your money, and I think that's a fair thing," Perry said.


Gotta Watch: Huntsman's presidential campaign
Republican presidential candidate and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman campaigns at Keene State College on January 08, 2012
January 16th, 2012
12:38 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Huntsman's presidential campaign

On June 21, 2011, former Utah Governor and U.S.ambassador to China Jon Hunstman announced his candidacy for president. He began his campaign in Liberty State Park, the same place where Ronald Reagan announced his bid for president in 1980. Over the past several months, the moderate conservative traveled across the country to tout his tax plan and foreign policy views. However, his campaign never really got the momentum he needed.  Huntsman finished last in the Iowa caucus and third in the New Hampshire primary. Despite the endorsement by South Carolina's largest newspaper, Huntsman decided it was time to end his campaign and back one of his rivals. Today's Gotta Watch features a look back at Huntsman's campaign, his feisty exchanges with Mitt Romney and the end of his bid for the White House.

Bad-mouthing Mitt - During his campaign, Huntsman attacked Romney on everything from tax policy to health care to his views on China.

A message for Mitt - During his campaign, Huntsman sent a message to Romney, the winner of the Iowa caucuses. "Welcome to New Hampshire. Nobody cares." That, and a nod to the Grateful Dead, were some of the more memorable highlights from his run for the GOP nomination.

To quit and endorse Mitt -  In the end, Huntsman decided he shouldn't continue on, and suspended his campaign. And, despite their "differences," Huntsman gave Romney his endorsement.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • China • Economy • Gotta Watch • Health Care • Iowa • Jobs • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire • Politics • Republican Party • South Carolina • U.S. • World
Overheard on CNN.com: Dissecting political success of Romney, Paul
Mitt Romney and other GOP candidates received passionate evaluations from CNN.com readers after New Hampshire.
January 11th, 2012
02:44 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Dissecting political success of Romney, Paul

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

"What's going to be hilarious is when the defeated pretend to endorse the candidate they just got done slandering."
- Austinstar

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney remains in the spotlight as the GOP front-runner after winning the New Hampshire primary. With 95% of precincts reporting, Romney received nearly 40% of the vote in Tuesday's balloting. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas picked up 23%, and former Utah Gov.  Jon Huntsman garnered 17%.

Romney received a lot of criticism from readers - among them liberals, independents and Republicans who didn't vote for the politician. Still, a selection of some readers' remarks illustrates not only why Romney has been successful so far in this unusual GOP race but also why Paul has made a strong showing as well.

If you have thoughts on New Hampshire's outcome, be sure to share these views on video at CNN iReport as well as in the comments area below.

GOP race moves south after Romney wins New Hampshire

People who spoke in favor of Romney often talked about change.

Florida425: "I voted for President Obama last election, but I will be voting for Romney this time around. President Obama has had time to turn things around, and I haven’t seen enough to re-elect him. Go Mitt!"


Overheard on CNN.com: Who will lead GOP after indecisive Iowa caucuses?
The very close result of the Iowa caucuses got a lot of readers talking about the Republican Party's strategy.
January 4th, 2012
02:53 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Who will lead GOP after indecisive Iowa caucuses?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

By a slim margin of just eight votes, Mitt Romney came out ahead of Rick Santorum and Ron Paul in the Iowa caucuses. It was a historic result, and commenters had lots to say as they tried to identify the trajectory of the Republican Party.

5 things we learned from the Iowa caucuses

Some readers said the result reflected poorly on Romney, despite his win.

lesfender: "Hardly a win for Romney. He basically did the same as last go around. Santorum should be considered the true winner, with Ron Paul second. He doubled his turn out from last time around. Romney, while I believe will be the final choice, is hardly a winner.

DJRickyV: "Between a candidate Romney and incumbent Obama, I see a close race but Obama by a nose. Romney has some compelling ideas but still has to find something in his record that trumps that outsourcing albatross."

Lots of commenters were abuzz about Ron Paul's finish in the top three, whether supporting or opposing. FULL POST

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Filed under: Elections • Mitt Romney • Overheard on CNN.com • Politics
Gotta Watch: CNN 'After Dark'
January 4th, 2012
12:58 PM ET

Gotta Watch: CNN 'After Dark'

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Filed under: Elections • Gotta Watch • Iowa • Media • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Politics • Republican Party • Rick Perry • TV • Twitter • U.S.
Gotta Watch: Candidates making fun of themselves
December 20th, 2011
10:55 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Candidates making fun of themselves

There's nothing better than politicians who are secure enough to make fun of themselves, especially this winter when tensions are high among the Republican presidential candidates. "The Late Show with David Letterman" seems to be a popular place to let the rest of the country know that they don't take themselves too seriously.

'It's a hairpiece' - Monday night, Mitt Romney visited Letterman to share the top ten things "he'd like to say with the American people."

Brain freeze - In November, Rick Perry stopped by "The Late Show" to share his top ten excuses for his now-infamous brain freeze.

The 9-9-9 plan - Before Herman Cain suspended his presidential campaign, he took advice from Letterman on his 9-9-9 plan.

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Filed under: Herman Cain • Mitt Romney • Politics • Rick Perry • Uncategorized
Gotta Watch: Political debate smackdowns
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (L) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry participate in the Republican presidential debate airing on CNN, October 18, 2011.
October 19th, 2011
11:02 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Political debate smackdowns

A political debate isn't a good one without a few awkward and fiery moments. Tuesday night's Western Republican Presidential Debate in Las Vegas was certainly no exception.  The candidates clashed over all kinds of hot button issues like taxes and health care.  In today's Gotta Watch, we wanted to feature some of our best political debate smackdowns, starting with arguably the most heated exchange from the Vegas debate between Mitt Romney and Gov. Rick Perry.

Gloves come off - It's a really awkward exchange that includes a lot of yelling, bickering and even a condescending pat on the shoulder. Watch what ensues after Gov. Rick Perry accuses Mitt Romney of hiring illegal immigrants.


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Filed under: Elections • Gotta Watch • Immigration • Las Vegas • Mitt Romney • Politics • Republican Party • Tea Party • U.S.
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