Michael Justus/AP Photo
Willard M. Romney laughing with supporters in Greer, South Carolina on Thursday.
One week after we all stayed up past midnight to find out the results of the Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire primary was called as soon as the polls closed. Romney's latest victory, his history at Bain Capital and Newt Gingrich's last stand are the stories we were watching this week.
Mitt Romney wins New Hampshire
Unlike his extremely narrow win in Iowa, Mitt Romney handily won the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday night, giving an odd, albeit better, speech than the one he gave after Iowa.
Ron Paul had another strong finish this week after he placed a distant second to Mitt Romney in New Hampshire. Steve Kornacki, despite enduring technical problems during the show, stuck around to talk about Paul's appeal.
Having decided to skip Iowa and focus his attention on New Hampshire, it's difficult to tell if Jon Huntsman's third place finish is a good thing or a bad thing for the candidate. Right now, he's polling behind Stephen Colbert in the upcoming South Carolina primary, and the comedian hasn't technically entered the race.
Let me remind of you of Mr. Vermin Supreme. It's a crime this "friendly fascist," boot-hat wearing presidential candidate didn't win the New Hampshire primary, effectively killing the war with gingivitus and the dream of having a free pony.
Willard's work and family history
It's tough to tell what kind of week Mitt Romney really had. On the one hand, Romney won in New Hampshire and currently leads in the South Carolina polls. On the other hand, questions have been raised about his time as CEO of Bain Capital and the gaffs he's had in response to them. One mistake came on Wednesday after he told Matt Lauer on Today that his critics were suffering from "envy." This comment is now being added to a growing list of times Romney has appeared to be out of touch with the American public.
His family south of the border also made headlines. Mike Taibbi discussed his piece from this week's Rock Center on Mitt Romney's Mexican roots.
The wrath of Newt
Remember the end of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"? Paul Newman and Robert Redford were pinned down and had no choice but to shoot their way out even though there was no chance of survival? That's kind of what Newt Gingrich is doing. He's pinned down, he's angry and South Carolina is where he'll make his stand.
Fortunately for us, and unfortunately for Mitt Romney, both Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry (who finished near or at the bottom of both the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary) are still in the race. Because of the pro-Gingrich "Winning Our Future" super PAC and Perry's exceptional fundraising last year, both have been able to stay in the race — not to win the nomination, but to destroy Romney. As a result, their campaigns have turned from viable options for the nomination into lurching zombies who's only purpose is to tear at the flesh of Mitt Romney.
THE WEEK AHEAD...
Super PAC ads
Almost all of the candidates have been gearing up the barrage of super PAC sponsored advertisements that will inevitably fill the airwaves in South Carolina. Even Stephen Colbert decided last night to transfer over his "Colbert Super PAC" money to Jon Stewart in order to explore a run there. Be on the look out for ads from the pro-Newt Gingrich super PAC "Winning Our Future" as well as the pro-Romney "Restore our Future" this week.
South Carolina primary
The candidates have already made their way to South Carolina. MSNBC coverage of the South Carolina primary begins next Saturday, January 21 at 6pm ET.