When they were done counting the votes in a wild night in Iowa, Mitt Romney emerged as the winner of the caucus by eight slim votes. Still though, you could make the argument that he was the big loser of the night. And many people are.
Romney has basically been running for president for six years now. He spent millions of dollars in an ad blitz in Iowa. Yet he only garnered 25% of the vote -- virtually the same total he won in 2008. He barely beat Rick Santorum, a severely underfunded candidate who a week ago was pretty much invisible. Despite all of his work, it is clear that Romney is failing to win over the Republican faithful.
The Washington Times included him among the night's losers, writing:
Romney had the lesson drilled home tonight: He's not loved by the GOP. He's remained steady at 20-25% in the polls, and he stayed there tonight. 75% voted for someone else. He's the leader by default, not out of passion. He can fix that, but he still has a battle on his hands for the nomination. His performance in Iowa isn't an endorsement; it's resignation. When he moves on to states less dominated by Christian Evangelicals and Tea Partiers, he may find his numbers improving, but tonight isn't cause for celebration.
The National Journal had similar a sentiment:
Four years ago, Romney lost the Iowa caucuses with 25 percent of the vote, a blow his campaign never fully recovered from. Tonight, he again stalled out around 25 percent -- but now he marches on to New Hampshire as a co-victor with Rick Santorum. Still, his inability to attract a larger share of the Republican electorate raises nagging questions about why a year-long GOP front-runner can’t garner more than one-quarter of the GOP vote.
ABC News was a bit kinder, placing Romney in the "Mixed & 'Meh'" category:
He wins Iowa by eight votes, but still can’t dispel the tag that he’s a candidate who can’t win over conservative Republicans. Despite his huge campaign war chest and an aggressive super PAC advertising campaign on his behalf, Romney barely inched past an underfunded candidate like Rick Santorum. Romney could be poised for back-to-back victories in Iowa and New Hampshire, where polls show him with a big lead, but he’s got a new foe to contend with who has already started painting him as a moderate.