After winning the Iowa caucuses by a mere eight votes and moving on to a much more decisive victory in New Hampshire, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney takes a commanding lead. With the South Carolina primary next on the list, Romney is looking to take his third win and solidify his status as the eventual nominee.
He was the first non-incumbent candidate of either major political party to win both the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary and even though Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry are looking for surges in the South for the next primary, Romney still holds the top spot in South Carolina polls.
“The president has run out of ideas,” Romney said. “Now, he’s running out of excuses. And tonight, we are asking the good people of South Carolina to join the citizens of New Hampshire and make 2012 the year he runs out of time.”
Romney was seen as the favorite in the New England state, which neighbors Massachusetts, where the candidate was governor from 2003 to 2007. Texas Rep. Ron Paul came in a distant second in New Hampshire and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman landed in third.
“I say third place is a ticket to ride,” Huntsman said. “We’re going to South Carolina.”
Huntsman started gaining ground only late in the race and he beat out Perry, Gingrich and Rick Santorum, who finished close behind Romney in Iowa.
Paul is the only candidate who openly supports gay marriage, but has faced criticism for anti-gay remarks in the past. Romney was the governor of Massachusetts when gay marriage was legalized, but he has promised to support a Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Huntsman has been public about his support for civil unions for gay couples and has refused to sign any anti-gay pledges.
Santorum has made his opposition to gay rights one of his key campaign issues and promised to work to invalidate all gay marriages that have been performed thus far in the nation and oppose any efforts to pursue any measures of equality, such as nondiscrimination bills.
“I have no problem with homosexuality; I have a problem with homosexual acts, as I would with what I would consider to be acts outside of traditional heterosexual relationships,” Santorum said.
When he was offered a chance to clarify his statement attacking gays he said, “I can’t deny that I said it, and I can’t deny that’s how I feel.”
After the Supreme Court invalidated anti-sodomy laws in 2003, Santorum said the decision was a step down a slippery slope to the destruction of society, and that all homosexual acts should be made illegal.
“If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything,” he said. “In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing.”
His remarks prompted sex columnist and activist Dan Savage to lead a Google campaign against him to redefine the word, ‘Santorum.’ Savage launched the site, SpreadingSantorum.com, which defines Santorum as, “The frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.”
Despite protests from the presidential candidate, Google has not changed its algorithm or removed the site from the results.
The next primary will be in South Carolina on Jan. 21.