He may be a non-gambler, but Mitt Romney had a good night in Vegas. He left town as the night's big winner, capturing his second strong victory in a row.
The result was no surprise; but the blocs he won on his way to a majority of the vote were.
This is a state where nearly half of Republicans describe themselves as not just conservative, but "very conservative." It's also a closed primary, where the only voters weighing in are part of the Republican base. But Romney decisively captured conservatives, tea partiers and evangelicals on his way to a win.
Just how big was Romney's win? It was so dominant he drew more support than the rest of the field combined. A quarter of Saturday's voters were Mormon, and 9 in 10 of those voters backed Romney. However,as his campaign was quick to point out, even if you take those voters out of the mix, the former Massachusetts governor would still have walked away with a double-digit advantage.
There were a few sour notes for Romney tonight. One of the few groups he lost were self-identified independents - a bloc Republicans need to win big to beat President Obama in this battleground state come this fall. That group went instead to Ron Paul.
Reporter's Note: This is Super Bowl Sunday, and yet I am attending to business: passing my daily letter to the White House.
Dear Mr. President,
So who are you picking in the big game tonight? I know that you must be tempted to take the political tack and say something like, “Oh, I just hope for a good game.” But I’m going to go ahead and leap out there and say I’d like the Giants to win.
Of course, as a Saints fan I really wish they were in the game, but absent the boys in the black and gold I’ll take New York, and you know why? I find the way that the Patriots play kind of boring. I have the greatest respect for their talent, and heaven knows I’ve watched them storm back to victory in dramatic fashion. But the way they do it never seems dramatic to me.
I love Boston. One of my favorite cities. I love the Bruins, have enjoyed watching the Celtics, and the Red Sox are always a good day at the ball park. In addition, Tom Brady is a brilliant quarterback, and Bill Belichick is as good a coach as the league has; however, the Patriots never seem as if they are having fun, and I rarely see them do anything unexpected. Watching them play football, as effective as they are, is like watching people can fish. And that’s not what I’m after when it is kickoff time.
I want to see bold risks, thrilling innovations, stupendous individual and team effort, not guys who act as if they are punching a time clock. I realize New England fans would find this hugely insulting, and probably rail about it just being sour grapes, but it’s not that at all. I felt the same way about the New Jersey Devils when their trapping defense took them to the Stanley Cup. Sure, it worked like a charm, but it made hockey about as thrilling a quilting.
So I hope the Giants win. I hope they have to pull out every bit of heart and brilliance they can muster. I hope the game grinds down to the final moments, and sheer inspiration drives to victory, leaving technique gasping on the turf. Because as much as I respect technique, it’s not enough to make great art, cool great food, design great cars, or drive a great nation…that takes soul…and I think the Giants have more.
Anyway, call if you want to come over and watch. We’ll have chips and wings I guess, but we can get something more if you wish. Just let me know.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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