Bachmann bails out

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

January 4, 2012 1:34:02 PM PST
The battle for the heart and soul of the Republican party - and in the process the selection of a Presidential nominee - has its first victim.

Actually - several victims, but one of them has officially dropped out.

And what a long, tortured road it's been for Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann. The Iowa native who won the state's straw vote of Republicans last summer, came in last of the candidates who waged a campaign in Iowa. She didn't even win the district where she was born - Waterloo - the district where in June she said embodied the spirit of John Wayne. The only problem with that reference was that it was John Wayne Gacy the serial killer who was from Waterloo, not John Wayne the rugged actor.

Bachmann is out of the race, but she's not the only loser after last night's Iowa caucuses. And what a strange national event this is - it looks more like a student body election than the beginning of the selection process for President of the United States, with the slips of paper and the 123,000 people writing in their favorite candidate. But this rather non-diverse population, using a system that doesn't cast votes but could later award delegates, marks the start of the Presidential race.

And now it's on to New Hampshire next Tuesday for yet another early-in-the-year primary - preceded by a debate hosted by ABC News this Saturday night.

The proverbial sharp knives will be aimed at Rick Santorum, whose backing by evangelicals in Iowa propelled him to a second-place finish, only 8 votes behind Mitt Romney. There are few evangelicals in New Hampshire, so it will be interesting to see how Santorum fares.

Romney will also feel the verbal daggers at the debate, as the GOP tries to figure out who will be the most successful candidate to take on Pres. Obama. It's a tough road for Mr. Romney, who is trying to become something of the last-man-standing in this race. The hard truth for the former Gov. of Massachusetts - he's yet to break the 25 percent level, either in the polls or the results. There are many who believe that the drama in the GOP primary process is the anybody-but-Romney process many Republicans are sifting through.

Pragmatists in the party seem to support him as the candidate who could run best against Mr. Obama, while party conservatives (who, after all, control many of the primaries) are looking for more of a conservative purist.

That's why this is a battle for the party's heart and soul.

We'll have the latest from the campaign trail, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, the wake tonight for the three young sisters killed in that horrible house fire on Christmas morning in Stamford, Connecticut. It's a private affair - as compared to tomorrow's public funeral We're at the wake tonight.

And our Lucy Yang tonight takes a look at a matchmaker service like you've never seen before. It caters to wealthy men. Very wealthy men. So wealthy that her rate begins at $12,000, although many of her clients pay at least 20-large to find their Princess Charming.

So what is this really all about? Lucy's story will fascinate you tonight at 11.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Amy Freeze (in for Lee Goldberg) with how long this biting cold will last, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.


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