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Romney Concedes Iowa to Huckabee

Mike Huckabee speaks to a news crew following a speech at the Veterans Memorial Building January 3 in Grinnell, Iowa. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

Updated: 10:02 p.m.
By Chris Cillizza
Former governor Mitt Romney (Mass.) conceded the Iowa caucuses to former governor Mike Huckabee even as his campaign sought to pivot its focus to the upcoming New Hamphsire primary.

"This competitive finish here in Iowa puts us in the position of remaining competitive across the board in all of these early primary states. No other campaign can point to a similar measure of broad strength in the early primary states," said Romney spokesman Kevin Madden following the caucus.

VIDEO: Romney's remarks after placing second in Iowa caucuses. (AP)
That fact hardly quelled the elation of the Huckabee campaign. "Although I not suprised I am very excited," said Huckabee consultant Bob Wickers. "Given the margin of victory Mike Huckabee was able to speak not just to evangelicals, but the entire Republican coalition."

From New Hampshire, Sen. John McCain called and left a message congratulating Huckabee. "The lesson of this election in Iowa is, one, you can't buy an election in Iowa and negative campaigns don't work. They don't work there and they don't work here," McCain said.

On MSNBC, Rudy Giuliani, who had largely written off the Iowa contest, also responded to the caucus results. "I believe we need a candidate who can run in all 50 states and I believe I'm the candidate who can run in all 50 states," he said.

Later, speaking on CNN from Florida the former New York mayor continued to downplay the importance of Iowa. Of his broader national focus, Giuliani said: "As we move along, I think you're going to see that strategy pay off."

Michael D. Shear, Perry Bacon Jr. and Juliet Eilperin contributed reporting.

By Washington Post editors  |  January 3, 2008; 9:44 PM ET
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