Hillary wins tie in Iowa; Cruz wins “would you rather”

Hillary Clinton poses with Martin O'Malley's liver. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty

Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley’s liver. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty

Update: The AP has called the Iowa caucuses for Hillary.

At 9:34 this morning, the Associated Press warned us all not to call the Iowa Democratic Caucuses just yet. Although the Clinton campaign declared victory last night, the tally currently stands at 49.9% Clinton, 49.6% Sanders, and 0.6% Martin O’Malley. O’Malley withdrew from the race, and what the Iowa Democratic Party does with his delegates could change the winner. So, too, could the missing results from 90 precincts. But probably Hillary won what Bernie Sanders has called “a virtual tie.” She said she did, and the normally sensible New York Times agrees. Nate Cohn has declared that the deadlock was “better for Clinton than Sanders.” Obviously, it’s a huge victory for the once-presumptive nominee to finish in a dead heat with a self-professed socialist who pundits agreed was unelectable. In other news, Iowa Republicans decided they would rather swallow a scorpion than a snake.

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Donald Trump withdraws from Republican debate

Donald Trump is not politically correct, so he can't believe how gay you are.

Donald Trump, who is not politically correct, suspects that you are gay.

Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, has confirmed that the wealthy meringue will boycott tomorrow night’s Republican debate in Des Moines. “He’s definitely not participating in the Fox News debate,” Lewandowski told the Washington Post. “His word is his bond.” Trump cited two reasons for his refusal. The first was that he felt he had been treated badly at the first Fox News debate by moderator and intelligent resonating crystal Megyn Kelly. The second was that someone else was making money on the deal. I quote WaPo:

“Why should the networks continue to get rich on the debates?” Trump told reporters at a news conference in Marshalltown. “Why do I have to make Fox rich?”

Just to clarify, debates among presidential candidates are not original reality programming from Fox News. Certain theories of democracy view them as a service to voters. But whoever he thinks his clients are, Trump has pulled Maneuver X.

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House Republicans mull shutdown

"So the priest says—hang on. If you want to hear the rest of the joke, give me ten dollars right now."

“So the priest says—hang on. If you want to hear the rest of the joke, give me ten dollars right now.”

According to a Politico report that has scared hell out of the nation and briefly thrown me into agreement with Ross Douthat, a substantial number of House Republicans are considering refusing to raise the debt ceiling. The plan is to use the threat of default and/or federal shutdown to force Obama to agree to spending cuts—cuts he has repeatedly refused to make. That part of the story should be eerily familiar from last year, when maneuvering over the debt ceiling ended in the downgrade of the credit of the United States. Everyone agreed that was a disaster, both for the union and for the Republican caucus. This year, though, will be totally different. Alarming quote after the jump.

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And on to Super Tuesday

"I regard this outcome as desirable."

Mitt Romney has won the Republican presidential primaries in Arizona and Michigan, handily in the former and maybe less so in his home state. He beat Rick Santorum in Michigan by just over three points, suggesting that people whose unemployment rate stayed over 10% for most of 2011 really are worried that dudes might touch one another’s linuses. Either that, or something about a governor’s son who made up for his criticism of the auto bailout by explaining how many Cadillacs he owns just isn’t connecting with people. Meanwhile, level-twelve poop elemental Newt Gingrich beat Ron Paul up north but was beaten by him out west. Gyn’grrch will now be summoned to Georgia by Sheldon Adelson’s ritual burning of several million dollars.

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This Newt Gingrich rap is of inferior quality

"I'm the hypest lyricist / while you're like 'what type of beer is this?'"

Today is the Florida Republican primary, when grandmothers across the state will vote on whom they like better: Mitt Romney, who looks like the hedge fund manager their granddaughter married, or Newt Gingrich, who looks like the guy who tried to finger them in the hot tub. It may be a tough day for Newton.* Fortunately, he has a comprehensive plan to expand his appeal beyond just, you know, munitions factory owners. Speaker Gingrich is for everybody, and everybody enjoys hip hop. Seriously, there is a pro-Gingrich rap song now, and that’s it—he was the last one. Props to Ben al-Fowlkes for the link.

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