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Mitt Romney is suddenly looking for win #2 in a row rather than #3.

While the former Massachusetts governor appeared to eke out a slim eight-vote win in the Iowa caucus on January 3, the Des Moines Register reports that the final count of the vote puts former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum ahead by 34.

After a long night of vote-counting, Romney appeared to post the slimmest-ever margin of victory in Iowa, but GOP officials discovered inaccuracies in 131 precincts, not all of which affected the final vote, but which threw the race to Santorum.

Romney, Santorum

Rick Santorum won 29,839 votes to Mitt Romney's 29,805. In essence, state GOP officials said, Iowa's results come down to a virtual tie, or "split decision."

NBC News will still not declare a winner in the Iowa caucus, saying with results from eight precincts out of 1,774 missing, it is impossible to know who won.

Nevertheless, Santorum declared victory today after the updated results were posted.

What does this mean going forward? Not much. Romney put up a decisive victory in New Hampshire Jan. 10, while Santorum has faded fast since Iowa.

It does deprive Romney of bragging rights, though, and the story could help dissuade primary voters in South Carolina that he is the inevitable nominee.

South Carolina's critical primary is Saturday, with Romney looking to hold off a surging Newt Gingrich, who shot past Santorum after Monday's debate.

Newt got more good news today with Rick Perry dropping out and throwing his support behind him - and in essence giving him more screen time at tonight's debate.

Then again, Marianne Gingrich also started doing interviews.

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Just 48 hours before the critical South Carolina primary, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's ex-wife Marianne is criticizing the former House Speaker's character.

Marianne Gingrich says, in an interview airing tonight on Nightline, that Newt's professed positions on marriage and family values do not line up with his actions.

Their 18-year marriage ended in 1999, and during that span, Marianne says Newt Gingrich admitted to her about a six-year affair with a Congressional aide.

That woman is now Newt's third wife, Callista Gingrich. This is well documented, but it's a comment Newt allegedly made about it that's raising eyebrows:

He asked his wife if she would share him with Callista, according to Marianne.

Marianne Gingrich Picture

"I just stared at him and he said, 'Callista doesn't care what I do.' He wanted an open marriage and I refused," Marianne Gingrich tells ABC News.

Marianne also details how Newt was conducting this affair while publicly condemning the unfaithful President Clinton for his lack of moral leadership.

“How could he ask me for a divorce on Monday and within 48 hours give a speech on family values and talk about how people treat people?” she said.

“Truthfully, my whole purpose is to get out there about who I am, so Newt couldn’t create me as an evil, awful person, which was starting to happen.”

It gets worse. Newt divorced Marianne months after she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, she says, and began dating her almost as scandalously.

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The campaign of Presidential quasi-candidate Stephen Colbert was dealt a major blow this week when it was established that voters can’t write his name in on the ballot during Saturday’s Republican primary in his native South Carolina.

Colbert has, as a result, devised a new strategy.

Well, Colbert Super PAC supporting him has anyway. The organization is now asking voters to pull the lever for Herman Cain (remember him?), who still appears on the ballot, as he qualified for it before dropping out of the race.

As Colbert’s TV ad, narrated by the incomparable Samuel L. Jackson says of Cain: “He’s such an outsider, he is not even running for president!”

The ad slams Colbert for “turning our election into a circus.” Obviously.

If you're confused, and frankly we don't blame you if so, the Colbert Super PAC is a political action committee ... formed expressly to mock such things.

A Super PAC can raise and spend unlimited amounts of cash on a candidate's behalf, yet cannot coordinate efforts with the candidate directly.

Colbert is staging a faux campaign as a means of ridiculing the system's absurdity, though he led Jon Huntsman and tied Rick Perry in one poll.

Huntsman quit the race Monday, while Rick Perry dropped out this morning. Colbert is still going hard, even if it's on Herman Cain's behalf.

Watch your back, Mitt and Newt.

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Texas Governor Rick Perry will drop out of the GOP presidential race and endorse rival Newt Gingrich for the Republican nomination, according to news reports.

He will make the announcement shortly in North Charleston, S.C.

The move by Perry to end his flailing campaign was inevitable, yet came a few days sooner than expected, with the South Carolina primary looming this Saturday.

Perry hoped the state's evangelicals and social conservatives would revive his candidacy. Instead, it was Newt who surged after Monday's Republican debate.

Perry and Gingrich

Rick Perry was mired in the low single digits in the Palmetto State and nationally, while a revitalized Gingrich has shown an upward trajectory in recent polls.

Perry weighed dropping out of the race after a dismal finish in the Iowa caucuses, only to decide to stay in and make one last stand in South Carolina.

It was not to be. In hindsight, a campaign that began with such promise actually peaked on its first day, after which Perry sank like a stone in popularity.

Clearly not ready for prime time, Perry's substance never equaled his swagger. Amazing debate gaffes came early and often. Other candidates surged past him.

By dropping out now, he may provide a modest boost to Gingrich, who's trying to present himself as a more ideologically potent conservative than Mitt Romney.

Perry said in officially suspending his candidacy today:

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"Wherever this flag's flown, we take care of our own." - Bruce Springsteen

There is perhaps no more legendary American musician and working class hero than the Boss of Rock and Roll himself. With his new album Wrecking Ball coming March 6, Bruce Springsteen has just released a new single, “We Take Care of Our Own.”

Take a listen below and see what you think:

In vintage Springsteen fashion, the song is musically upbeat, yet references the struggles of America with lyrics like, “Where’s the promise, from sea to shining sea?”

Other songs on the 11-track album reflect similar populist sentiments, with titles such as "Death to My Hometown," "This Depression" and "Easy Money."

Politics aside ... The BOSS is back, baby!

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Sarah Palin hasn't endorsed Newt Gingrich in the GOP presidential race, but says she would vote for the former House Speaker if she were a South Carolinian.

Way to really put yourself out there.

"If I had to vote in South Carolina, in order to keep this thing going I'd vote for Newt and I would want this to continue," the 2008 V.P. nominee told Fox News.

"These guys are getting better in their debates, they are getting more concise, more grounded in what their beliefs are and articulating what their ideas are."

"If I had to vote in South Carolina, in order to keep this thing going I'd vote for Newt and I would want this to continue. More debates, more vetting of candidates."

"I want to see that taking place this time because America is on this precipice, it's that important. We need this process to continue on," she added.

Todd Palin, Sarah's husband, recently endorsed Gingrich, and Sarah's comments show she thinks of him favorably despite a lack of overt endorsement.

Whether it does him any good in Saturday's primary remains to be seen. Newt's showing at the first South Carolina debate was strong, with another coming up tonight.

by Free Britney at . Comments

A key bill currently before the U.S. Congress, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and its companion bill in the Senate, the Protect IP Act (PIPA), need to be torpedoed ASAP.

At THG, we normally refrain from such overt political messages, but the fact is these bills would censor content and impose harmful regulations on millions of people.

Legions of Internet users and entrepreneurs oppose SOPA and PIPA, and for good reason. They would enable the government to - indiscriminately - regulate the web.

If these bills pass, which is a real threat, the web will be transformed dramatically. Not only are the livelihoods of sites like THG at risk, but behemoths like Google.

Google! Check out their SOPA "blackout" logo today in defiance of the legislation:

Google Blackout

In a nutshell, the bill would enable easy, and unnecessary blocking of entire sites. Small ones won't have sufficient resources to defend themselves against corporate giants.

Big media companies may seek to cut off funding for competitors, even if copyright isn't infringed. Millions will be suppressed, strong-armed and blacklisted - LEGALLY.

Combating piracy of intellectual property is a worthwhile goal, but there are fair, effective means of achieving it without broad government overreach into our lives.

SOPA and PIPA are not it. In fact, they will do just the opposite, quashing the innovation of small businesses everywhere while rewarding a select few arbitrarily.

The only PIPA we like is Pippa Middleton. The only SOPA we care about is ... we have no joke for that one. It hits so close to home, we can't even think straight.

Follow this link to make a call to your U.S. representative. It only takes a minute, they connect you immediately. Or follow this link to join Google's effort.

Stand up for individual liberty or the Internet as you know it may be altered forever.

by Free Britney at . Comments

Many conservatives are furious over Newsweek's controversy-bait cover story by Andrew Sullivan, whose headline asks, "Why Are Obama's Critics So Dumb?"

Sarah Palin is taking it particularly personally, though.

"Know what's truly 'dumb'?" Palin Tweeted. "Giving a cover story to the Trig Truther conspiracy kook writer who thinks I didn't give birth to my son."

  • Why Are Obama's Critics So Dumb?
  • Sarah Palin in NYC

In a play on the "Birther" conspiracy surrounding Obama's birth certificate, Palin is calling out Sullivan for questioning whether she is Trig's real mother.

In 2008, Sullivan and others theorized that a Sarah Palin pregnancy scandal involving a cover-up of Bristol Palin getting knocked up could be in effect.

Bristol was, of course, pregnant with Tripp, not Trig.

He hypothesized that Palin "faked the pregnancy to avoid embarrassment for her daughter [Bristol Palin] or for political gain or some combination of reasons."

Sullivan's response to Palin calling him out today?

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The First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, turns 48 today.

The first-ever African-American First Lady, Michelle doesn't describe herself in such terms. Instead, she doesn't hesitate to say that first and foremost, she is Malia and Sasha's mom, and that before that, she was a wife, lawyer and public servant.

Here's an official White House portrait of Michelle and family:

Obama Family Portrait 2011

Promoting Service and working with young people has remained a staple of her career and her interest in the White House, exemplified by her Let’s Move campaign to bring together communities in a nationwide effort to tackle childhood obesity.

Michelle also co-founded Joining Forces, a nationwide initiative that mobilizes all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they deserve, and to raise awareness of military families' unique needs.

Regardless of your political views, here's wishing the First Lady a very happy birthday on this day. Click to enlarge some of our favorite Michelle Obama photos below!

  • Beautiful Michelle Obama
  • Outdoorsy First Lady
  • Gorgeous First Lady
  • Michelle Obama Image
  • President and Mrs. Obama
  • Michelle Obama, Kate Middleton
  • Michelle Obama and Lisa Simpson
  • Michelle Obama Time Cover
  • Obamas Interview
  • Obama Family

by Free Britney at . Comments

Jon Huntsman may have gotten out just in time.

In front of by FAR the most raucous crowd of any Republican debate held thus far, the five remaining GOP hopefuls squared off in South Carolina last night.

Ostensibly, everybody not named Mitt Romney angled to knock the frontrunner off his pedestal. In reality, it became a game of rhetorical one-upmanship.

The crowd cheered their support of U.S. soldiers urinating on dead Afghan bodies and their condemnation of the Obama administration’s condemnation of it.

Newt Gingrich earned a standing ovation for this quote: “Andrew Jackson knew what to do with his enemies - he killed them.” How professorial he can be.

Even Romney, the most vanilla of all candidates, got into the act, saying “The right thing for Osama bin Laden was the bullet in the head that he received.”

No one here's missing Osama, but really Mitt?

The audience then jeered Ron Paul for suggesting that “we should practice the Golden Rule in foreign policy.” Nice to see we boo NOT bombing people.

The yelled their approval of Rick Perry saying America should “go to zero on foreign aid.” They booed Juan Williams for questioning Newt's big janitor idea.

The South Carolina primary has a reputation for being a bloodbath, and last night's rancor showed why. Just imagine if this race were in any way close.

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