Mitt Romney won the Republican primary in New Hampshire and now heads to South Carolina with a commanding lead over Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Jon Hunstman.
Exit polls show Romney receiving about 36 percent of the vote in New Hampshire, with Ron Paul getting 23 percent and Jon Huntsman at 18 percent, making Romney the first non-incumbent Republican to win both the Iowa caucuses, where he beat Rick Santorum by eight votes, and New Hampshire primary.
Conservatives now see the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary as possibly their last chance to derail the Romney juggernaught. Polls consistently show Romney has the best chance of beating President Barack Obama in the general election. But fiscal conservatives distrust Romney, who as governor of Massachussetts signed into law a health care plan that became the model for Obama's national health care reforms. And social conservatives want are wary of Romney's past support for abortion rights and his Mormon faith.
Mitt Romney's opponents have now focused their attacks on him. Texas Governor Rick Perry called Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney used to run, "vultures" that swooped in to buy and sell companies and lay off thousands of workers. Former House speaker New Gingrich's PAC is set to run commercials that depict Romney as a "more ruthless than Wall Street" financier who was born into privelege.
But is it time the GOP faced reality? The longer it takes to accept Romney and the more attacks he suffers from his fellow Repbulcians, the weaker he will be when he faces Obama in November.