As a cautionary note, let me remind you that my mathematics skills run all the way from suspect to non-existent. With that in mind, let's continue.
Donald Trump, to no one's surprise, is flailing about trying to lay the blame on his distant second-place finish in Iowa on just about anyone who does not have the letters T.R.U.M. and P. in his or her name.
First, Trump blamed "people." On MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program Tuesday morning, Trump said:
"I think in retrospect we should have had a better ground game. I would have funded a better ground game, but you know, people told me that my ground game was fine …"
If I were a spokesman for one of the other campaigns, I might have said something like:
"How's that going to work when we're negotiating with Putin? 'I would have defended Hungary, but people told me Hungary was fine.'"
Those darned, unreliable, "people," huh?
When nobody clucked and coddled Donald with a national chorus of "there, there" he came about, changed tack, and went on the offensive saying Cruz had "stolen" the election in Iowa. As reported by Reuters:
"Ted Cruz didn't win Iowa, he stole it," Trump (@realDonaldTrump) tweeted. "That is why all of the polls were so wrong and why he got far more votes than anticipated. Bad!"
In case you missed it, it appears that someone in the Ben Carson campaign made it known that Carson was not going directly on to New Hampshire, as most of the candidates did, but was going home to Florida for a few days to, among other things, pick up some clean clothes.
That was picked up by the cable nets and suddenly underwear was the big news of the night.
The Cruz campaign picked up on, and embellished, the CNN reporting by sending an email to supporters at caucuses that it was being reported by news sources that Carson was dropping out, and they should find Carson supporters at their caucus, tell them the news, and ask them to switch their support to Cruz.
A black mark on the Cruz campaign? Maybe more of a gray mark.
I was watching CNN and while I cannot remember the exact words, I do remember thinking that this must mean Carson is suspending his campaign. Even though CNN denies - and properly so - any suggestion that it went beyond the fact that Carson was coming off the campaign trail temporarily as his campaign had said, I got the clear impression that they were implying it was curtains for Carson.
My bad, but CNN needs to go back over that footage and watch it with an editor's eye.
To that end, as I have been recovering from the flu
Yes, I got a flu shot last Fall. But whatever combination of strains it was designed to protect against, one of them must not have been the Juneau, Alaska strain where I was Friday for a speech. Or it might have been a rare strain that was floating around the cabin of one of the six airplanes (three stops out, three back) that I was crammed into.
END (whiny) SIDEBAR
I checked out Trump's claim of the results being skewed.
He is correct. The results of the caucuses didn't match the pre-caucus polling, but not because Cruz suspiciously over-performed, but that Trump UNDER-performed.
In the Des Moines Register poll released over the weekend, Trump came in at 28 percent of those surveyed. That percentage would have yielded 52,212 actual votes on caucus night if he had held onto it.
But, he didn't.
On caucus night he got only 24 percent, or 45,427 votes.
Trump underperformed his expected result by over 7,000 votes.
Unless Cruz supporters were running through their caucuses telling Trump supporters that he was dropping out the results had nothing to do with Carson or Cruz.
Carson got 10 percent in the Register poll and came in with nine percent on caucus night. Close enough for government work, certainly.
Cruz went from 23 percent in the poll to 28 percent on caucus night and Rubio was the big over-perform winner going from 15 percent in the poll to 23 percent (just behind Trump) on caucus night.
In any event, a recounting of the numbers don't back up Trump's claim.
Lad Link: The Lad, Reed Galen (@reedgalen) weighs in with an appreciation of Rand Paulwho announced Tuesday, that he was getting out of the race.
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Iowa Poll results, to the Fox News election results page, and a chart that was very difficult to format showing how the top four did in each.
Also, one of the most soothing Mullfotos I've ever taken.