Only ‘non-hawkish’ GOP candidate loses in Iowa to Romney

The presidential campaign is now underway in earnest in the US, with the first contest having determined a single Republican nominee – Mitt Romney - in the state of Iowa.

Social conservative Rick Santorum, anti-war advocate Ron Paul, and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney were the front-runners, but according to the chairman of the Iowa Republican party, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won the Iowa caucus by eight votes.

Romney narrowly edged out former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Chairman Matt Strawn says Romney got 30,015 votes and Santorum received 30,007, AP reports.

The Iowa caucus is widely seen as setting the tone for the nomination race by weeding out candidates. The eventual Republican nominee will face off with the Democratic President Barack Obama in November's presidential election.

Before the results were announced, former congressional aide and diplomat Joel Rubin said it was Ron Paul who stood out from the rest, but was unlikely to get enough support from his fellow Republicans.

“In his foreign policy he is very distinct from the other candidates in that he has a more isolationist viewpoint,” Rubin told RT. “He wants the United States to retreat from international conflicts and international affairs. In some areas that can be good – he is opposed to military action with Iran, he was opposed to the Iraq war.”

Joel Rubin notes that Ron Paul does stand out among other Republican candidates, who are notably “hawkish” on foreign policy. However he thinks Paul’s leadership qualities could be in doubt.

“He makes voters want to support him, but as for leading the party and getting other Republicans onboard and really change the agenda – no, he hasn’t done that. He is someone who says: ‘I am a free American and I can make it on my own.’ And that’s what Ron Paul really embodies. But Republicans also understand that that kind of positioning will not win the general election against President Obama,”Joel Rubin concluded.

With all that, Ron Paul, who only made third place in Iowa’s Republican presidential caucus on Tuesday, is promising to take his outsider bid for the GOP nomination into independent-minded New Hampshire.

“This momentum is going to continue. This movement is going to continue, and we’re going to continue scoring, just as we did tonight,” the Washington Post quoted him as saying. “We will go on. We will raise the money. And I have no doubt about the volunteers. They will be here.”

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