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Iowa Offers Little Clarity For GOP Field

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaks during his caucus night rally in Johnston, Iowa, on Tuesday.
Chris Carlson
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaks during his caucus night rally in Johnston, Iowa, on Tuesday.

You might think that after a spectacular night of political drama, one in which Mitt Romney eked out an eight-vote victory over Rick Santorum in Iowa, we might have a little more to tell you than the GOP field is just as unsettled as it was before the caucuses.

But that's the headline: "The Iowa caucuses did not deliver a clean answer to what type of candidate Republicans intend to rally behind to try to defeat President Obama and win back the White House," The New York Times reports. The Washington Post, meanwhile, takes the long view of the Romney campaign in the state and concludes he's leaving "with the same problems he had in 2008."

The Times does point out that Romney did fend off former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, "who were once seen as his biggest threat." After finishing at a disappointing fifth place with just 10 percent of the vote, Perry said he was headed back to Texas to "assess the results."

Of course, the big surprise of last night was the surge of Santorum, who went from relative obscurity to a contender in days and is now being touted as the Romney alternative. But, as Politico puts it, he'll quickly face a reality check. They explain:

"He doesn't have the money or infrastructure to keep up with Mitt Romney in New Hampshire, and he hasn't been in South Carolina since Nov. 12. A national fund-raising surge is imminent — and his name will top the headlines for the next several days — but he's going to have to dramatically expand his campaign apparatus virtually overnight."

During his speech last night, however, Santorum was defiant.

"Game on," he said. "You have taken the first step of taking back this country."

With that, we'll leave you with some notable headlines from across the Web:

-- While Michele Bachmann said publicly she is staying in the race, her campaign manager told the AP she might bow out.

-- Sen. John McCain will endorse Romney.

-- Gingrich takes shots at Romney, says he'll stay in the race.

-- The results from last night may give Ron Paul sway over his party's platform.

-- Entrance poll reveals that Republican voters were split on whether they want electability or principles.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.