Super PACs Dominate Iowa Caucus, Helping Mitt Romney Run Ahead
Never before have the Iowa caucuses seen such a campaign by any group other than a candidate committee. And with days to go before Iowans cast their votes, the new political landscape is coming into sharper focus.
Fully aware of the bazooka he had in his back pocket, Romney on Friday jetted off to New Hampshire to campaign for the primary election there, casually planning a return to the Hawkeye State on Saturday afternoon. Calm and assured that his campaign would keep on going past Iowa, he put an op-ed in the State newspaper in South Carolina and spent the morning taking shots at President Barack Obama in a variety of interviews. Opponents were left grappling for third place in Tuesday night's vote.
Gingrich, the target of the pro-Romney super PAC's ammo, was left in a more fetal state. "I can't do modern politics," the former speaker said at one campaign stop. At another, he broke down in tears, as he described memories of his mother.
The 2012 Iowa caucus is, increasingly, not about the individuals running. Campaign finance observers have warned repeatedly that independent groups, enabled by the Supreme Court's January 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission to raise and spend unlimited sums, would alter the balance of campaigns, once run primarily by candidate committees and party organizations. So far, those warnings are looking prescient.