January 2nd, 2012
DES MOINES, IOWA (Reuters) — Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin defied expectations last night by winning the Iowa caucus, gaining the support of 35% of caucus-goers. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney finished a distant second with 20%, barely edging out the 19% earned by businessman Herman Cain. Texas Gov. Rick Perry received a stinging rebuke with 9%.
Palin, a tea-party darling treated as a pariah by Washington Republicans, ironically surfed a late wave of support from establishment conservatives, who were alarmed by the collapse of Perry and the surge by the more radical Cain.
“This was the best [expletive] deal we could strike with the tea party,” said a GOP operative who asked not to be named. “We offered them [expletive] Perry, he flopped, they gave us [expletive] crazy Herman, and this was the only [expletive] card we had left to play. I’m mad, but not as mad as I’d be if it had been the [expletive] pizza guy.”