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Raw Politics: Live blog: The latest South Carolina results
January 21st, 2012
07:19 PM ET

Raw Politics: Live blog: The latest South Carolina results

10:45 p.m.
Gingrich may not have won a majority of the state's votes - but as of this moment, he's got 23 of its 25 delegates; no one else has even gotten one yet. That haul puts him back in the delegate race, trailing Romney by just 5. Up next: the January 31 Florida primary - a winner-take-all contest, with 50 delegates at stake.

10:17 p.m.
More numbers to think about: Gingrich's favorability numbers nationally in the January 13 CNN/ORC poll: 28% favorable to 58% unfavorable. Among Republicans only: 49%, down 12 points from his 61% favorable rating in November.

9:50 p.m.
If you've never seen it before: that was Newt Gingrich's entire stump speech, almost word for word.

9:31 p.m.
Gingrich: “It’s not that I am a good debater, it’s that I articulate the deepest-felt values of the American people.”

9:12 p.m.
Looking for good news for Romney tonight: a solid showing among moderates, liberals, non-evangelicals, those with incomes over $200,000, and people who do not support the Tea Party. The problem, of course, is that he was running in South Carolina.

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Raw Politics: The numbers game
January 21st, 2012
06:04 PM ET

Raw Politics: The numbers game

We’re live at the mothership, CNN Center in Atlanta, all night tonight, as exit polls and returns start to roll in from South Carolina. Opinion polls tracking the Republican primary race have swung back and forth wildly in this state - and now, some of that movement's starting to show up in national surveys too. As the exit polls and vote counts come in tonight, here are a half a dozen of the numbers we'll be keeping our eye on:

Early in the night:

–We'll be looking at the percentage of voters in exit polls who say they made their decision in the race's final days. We already know Gingrich likely has the advantage with that group: most surveys have indicated a double-digit swing in his direction over the race's final week, with the trend accelerating as the race entered the home stretch. If a plurality of voters say they made their pick in the contest's closing days, it could be a good sign for Gingrich.

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January 21st, 2012
07:00 AM ET

Letters to the President #1097: 'Sharing the wealth, part three!'

Reporter's Note: This could turn out to be the most expensive presidential election ever. And that’s saying something considering that the last one involved about 5 billion dollars being collected and spent by candidates, political parties, and interest groups.

Dear Mr. President,

Ok, now I’m on a tear! Here it is, the third day that I am returning to this subject.

To recap: You, your Republican challengers, the parties, and special interest groups are raising an absolutely mind-boggling amount of money for this election, at a time when people are struggling immensely. You all say that you are doing this so that you can help the nation. I’m saying, “Go ahead! Help them now with some of that fortune!”

I want to clarify what I mean. I’m not talking about a vast giveaway program. Sure, some of the money could go directly to helping people keep their houses or businesses, but I suspect it would be better spent if it went to spurring something that might sustain growth over time. You know that old saying, “Buy a man a fish, and he will eat today; teach him how to fish, and he’ll never be around to mow the lawn on weekends.” Maybe that’s not how it goes, but you get my point.

What I’m saying is instead of just taking all that money and using it for ads, or flyers, or rallies, or whatever it might go for, use it for campaigning... but redefine what campaigning is all about. Go to the places that are hurting and set up shop to help. Pour that money into businesses, communities, schools, churches, wherever it might do the most good. In other words, you political types should do with your campaign money what you are always trying to do with our tax money... spend it!

I know that there are programs out there which you wanted to fund but just couldn’t afford. So pay for them!

Again, you shouldn’t have to do this alone. This ought to be a joint venture between the two major parties and all candidates. Hey, if you can’t find a way to cooperate within the bounds of government, maybe you can figure out how to get along outside the halls of Congress. Come on, you’ve got the money... give it a whirl!

Regards,

Tom