Matt Mackowiak
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He simply cannot believe it may be happening again.

Willard Mitt Romney, born to family with a CEO, Governor one-time Presidential candidate father and U.S. Senate candidate mother, grew up around politics. He's entered into it throughout his career, first in 1994 when giving Ted Kennedy a run for his money, then again in 2002 when he won election as Governor of Massachusetts.

The 2008 campaign he ran for president was expertly built, by the most experienced hands, in the most methodical way, and with more than adequate resources (including major self-financing). But the product wouldn't sell.

A stunningly parallel dynamic is unfolding in 2012, as it did in 2008.

Santorum is Huckabee. Gingrich is McCain.

In 2008, Romney thought he had the Iowa Caucuses. Until a populist preacher and everyman named Mike Huckabee mobilized social conservatives, evangelicals and home schoolers to snatch away the Iowa Caucuses and earn the momentum.

This year former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) did the same thing. He lived off the land, ran an underfunded, gutsy, scrappy campaign across Iowa's 99 counties and kept Romney from earning the plurality win he thought he could steal with a late burst of candidate time and resources.

In both years losing Iowa prevented Romney from silencing conservative critics, chalking up an early win and gaining major momentum for earned media and fundraising.

In 2008, eventual nominee Sen. John McCain (R-SC) won South Carolina, a pivotal state in that campaign year, which led to winning Florida. The die was cast.

This year former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), left for dead in June, and again in December, used his southern firewall and two pitch perfect debate performances, aided by Romney's uneven handling of attacks on his record at Bain Capital and his puzzling decision not to release his tax returns nor convincingly explain why he wouldn't, to win a stunning victory with 40 percent of the vote, the highest share of any candidate in any voting state in 2012.

For Mitt Romney, it's deja vu all over again.

Romney's campaign failed to manage expectations, foolishly allowing the media to believe it was possible he could run the table in the first four states. He could now end up 1-3 in the first four.

The Mitt Romney Inevitability Wake was held in Columbia, SC on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 9pm local. After all, South Carolina has been the best predictor of any early state in Republican presidential primaries.

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Matt Mackowiak

Matt Mackowiak is a Washington, DC and Austin, TX based political and communications consultant and the founder and President of Potomac Strategy Group, LLC, providing political consulting, media relations and crisis communications assistance to campaigns, companies, groups and individuals. Since he arrived in Washington, DC, he has served in senior roles for two U.S. Senators, a Governor, in the executive branch, in winning political campaigns, and in the private sector. Over his career Matt has developed deep relationships with national, state and local media and political figures.

Most recently Matt worked with PSG client Gov. Sean Parnell (R-AK) as a senior communications adviser, providing counsel on strategy, speechwriting and media relations during the 2011 legislative session in Juneau.

In 2010 Matt served as Campaign Manager for Bill Flores, the Republican nominee in Texas’ 17th Congressional District. After winning a 5-way primary, Flores defeated 10-term incumbent Rep. Chet Edwards (D-TX) by 25% in November, the largest margin of victory for a GOP challenger in 2010.

In addition to offering counsel to individuals and corporations, Matt provides political analysis for the Fox News Channel, MSNBC, ABC News, CBS News, BBC News, and radio stations throughout the country. Matt’s on-therecord political analysis has appeared in Politico, the Washington Times, the Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg News, The Hill, Congressional Quarterly, the Washington Examiner, the Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle, and on ABCNews.com. He is a syndicated columnist and has had opinion columns published in the New York Post, New York Daily News, FoxNews.com, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Politico, Roll Call, Austin American-Statesman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Des Moines Register, National Review online, Congressional Quarterly and on the popular blog sites The Daily Beast and The Huffington Post. Matt has lectured and given speeches at the University of Illinois, the University of Texas, Texas Christian University, Georgetown University, Catholic University, the University of Denver, American University and the University of North Texas.

From 2005-2009 Matt served as Press Secretary to U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (RTX), the fourth ranking member of the Republican Leadership, and three-term former U.S. Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT). Earlier in his career he was a political appointee at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for Under Secretary Asa Hutchinson and Assistant Secretary Stewart Verdery, managed the second largest county in Iowa on the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign, counseled corporate clients at international PR firm Burson-Marsteller, and performed White House Presidential and Vice Presidential advance nationwide.

Matt is a Director of the Center for Public Policy and Political Studies at Austin Community College, and is a sustaining member of MaverickPAC. He serves as a member of the Board of Advisors for the non-profit Luke’s Wings and enjoys helping Becky’s Fund and USA CARES.

A native of Austin, Texas, Matt graduated with a B.S. in Communications Studies (Political Communication track) from the University of Texas in 2003. Aside from his professional work, he owns and manages the popular blog site www.potomacflacks.com, which the Washingtonian has called “one of the best political blogs.” In his free time, Matt enjoys sports, live music, reading biographies, and is an avid supporter of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the University of Texas.