The Rachel Maddow Show | January 06, 2012
>>> i have learned that it is very important to people here in new hampshire we all describe their presidential primary as first in the nation. first. first, first, first. and it is the first primary, but awkward as it is to bring this up while you're here, in new hampshire , before this comes something called iowa . the iowa caucuses , those are people before this and the most interesting thing about iowa this year is the iowa caucuses were almost unbelievably close. close, close, close. at one point way after midnight on tuesday night when rick santorum was leading the count by ten votes, romney headquarters were concerned they weren't seeing full results from clinton county , iowa , along the mississippi river , a romney leaning county that appeared to be missing some returns. a woman named edith feffer is chairman of clinton county , iowa . when the romney campaign couldn't figure out what was going on with the returns from that county, they tried to get her on the phone. by the time cnn got edith on the line, senate santorum 's lead had been down from 100 or so votes earlier to only four votes.
>> how many precincts are there in clinton county ?
>> there are 30 precincts.
>> and have all 30 as far as you know reported?
>> oh, yes.
>> every single one?
>> every single one.
>> what's the total for clinton county romney , santorum , paul?
>> oh. are they -- oh, god. i added them up a couple times. oh, man. my -- i show romney coming up a total of 437 votes. from clinton county . santorum had 354. perry had 73.
>> the numbers we're receiving from the state do not match the numbers we just received from the county chairwoman here in clinton county . if these are the final numbers --
>> what do you mean the numbers don't match?
>> i'll explain it. i'll explain it to you. john, you go ahead and explain it.
>> the numbers, madame chairwoman, i'm not questioning your numbers. the numbers you're giving us now do not match the numbers the state central committee has reported so far from your county. they say one precinct is missing. if your numbers are that missing precinct and these are the numbers from clinton county , excuse my scribble, but 437, not 386. 354. 321. we can stop right there, wolf. that would make romney the winner.
>> wow. what do you mean they don't match? about 20 minutes later the state republican party in iowa officially declared mr. romney the winner. by eight votes. eight votes. out of 122,255 cast which is a margin of 0.007%. that's close. since mr. romney was declared the winner by eight votes, a caucus worker in appanoose county , iowa , said mitt romney was awarded 28 extra votes in the county and if he only won by -- eight, an extra 20 votes would of course mean that he didn't win at all.
>> 28-year-old edward true helped count the votes and jotted the results down on his piece of paper to post on his facebook page later. his notes said mitt romney received two votes. according to the iowa republican party 's website, the precinct cast 22 votes for romney . ultimately, does it matter now who exactly won in iowa ? is the effect on the ongoing race from here on out materially different if the rick santorum , mitt romney virtual tie, if the result flipped today, would it make a difference for what happened in new hampshire or anywhere else after this? if the margin were different by not just eight votes but 8,000 votes, would that make that much of a difference? being a republican who wins, or almost wins the iowa presidential caucuses does not win you very much in american politics . remember mike huckabee 's nine-point win in iowa ? he was pretty much out of the race by march. he picked up some deep south states in kansas. he was done almost before he was even done basking in iowa . in 1988 the huge conservative winner in iowa , televangelist pat robertson who won the ames, iowa , straw poll and came in second on caucus night to bob dole . by april he was out of the race. he said god told him he's going to win this year. god is giving pat robertson betting tips. does maybe not knowing who really won the republican caucuses in iowa this year tell you anything important about the standings and the momentum for the rest of this race? no, it does not. does knowing who won the republican caucuses in iowa any year, reliably tell you anything important about the standings in the race that year? no. no, it really does not. the only reason it matters that we kind of don't know who won iowa this year and don't know if we'll ever know for certain is that republicans have spent their legislative time and energy since the 2010 election screaming from the rafters about their grave concern for the integrity of the vote. the supposed grave and imminent threat to the sanctity of every single vote has according to republicans compelled them, required them to push new restrictive voter i.d. laws in states across the country. these voters i.d. laws making it hard to register. the republican lie is it's bort restricting the vote to ensure integrity of elections. integrity. in the first contest of the year, an republican only event run by the republican party , republicans cannot be bothered to figure out how to count their own votes and figure out who actually won. that's how devoted they are to the integrity every vote. busted. [ sponge ]