The Race to the South Carolina Primary Begins

Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich both need a win in today's election.
5:03 | 01/21/12

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Transcript for The Race to the South Carolina Primary Begins
Voting in South Carolina already under way this morning and this is it the day Newt Gingrich may finally break through. There are signs this morning that he could have a very good day and a win there could tarnish Mitt Romney is inevitability and blast this race wide open. ABC's John Carl has been covering this crucial last minute campaigning and joins us from Charleston, South Carolina and good morning to you John. Good morning beyond the stakes are especially high here because in every election since 1980. The candidate that warning here in south Carroll Carolina went on to win the Republican nomination. Romney is running hard here in South Carolina. Last night he got rock star treatment at a rally in Greeneville. You know what you know what. You're gonna get me out. But Romney has been -- hiding in the polls here but -- -- found himself. By a Republican audience that nasty out how many more years of tax returns he plans to release his. I'll take a look at what that the what I read documents are. It. Romney advisors now privately saying they lose South Carolina. Bombing itself seems to be bracing for a victory here by Newt Gingrich speaker Gingrich's. That. From a neighboring state. Well known popular in the state and frankly to be. In a neck and neck race at this last moment is. This kind of excited. Gingrich is riding high surging in the polls and getting a big boost from two debates this week -- he got standing ovations by attacking. That they -- -- raiders' first with Fox News first of all along and -- with CNN where he attacked the moderator for asking questions. About ABC news his interview with his ex wife I am -- Paul. The -- would Begin a presidential debate. On a topic. Also some. Comic relief down near comedy central's Stephen col Baer says he's wanting to be the president of the united states of South Carolina. The only difference between Mitt Romney and a statue of Mitt Romney. Is that the -- never changes its position. And John -- jokes aside one position -- -- seems to be sticking by his where he'll be having breakfast today Dan mentioned this earlier restaurant called Tommy's ham house. Still -- problem Newt Gingrich scheduled to be there as well so is restaurant big enough to hold them both. Tommy's country ham house -- -- is going to be the center of the political universe this morning. I know that is -- Best place for breakfast in Greeneville it's going to be tough to fit both of them this morning but it's just gonna have to happen as Gingrich said when he heard that Romney was also coming. Romney is more than welcome to come to my advance how lots of Gingrich's it's fine to have Mitt Romney has -- It will be hot in that kitchen at -- all right John thank you so much. -- Is -- PR bonanza for -- in his hand so here's the question can -- really win this thing today let's bring in Matthew Dowd is an ABC news political analyst. Good morning thanks for getting up early on a Saturday we appreciate his -- you really think. New -- went yeah Natalie. Think he can when he's now likely -- when he's gone from being double digits behind five days ago. To being dead even if you take a look at what his advisors are saying basically -- we always we're in this for the long haul we never really expected to blow out of the state. It's a pretty good signal that they -- momentum -- -- -- inside and usually bad momentum so does this mean that Newt has essentially neutralized. Negative impact of the ABC news in your view with his ex wife. I think he not only has new tries to temporarily and -- this always make comeback happened that ended the penny how long this process goes. But he's turned it into -- ascent actually in how we confronted John King at the debate. In the way he did that the way the audience responded that's always taken it from a lot of affiliates into an asset that's jujitsu it's absolutely -- -- so when you. And history as -- as Jon -- reminded us history says that whoever wins the South Carolina primary goes on to win the Republican nomination. But Mitt Romney still has some formidable advantages in terms of money and organization in the coming state so. Newt -- does not have a clear shot here. Well he went well its interest in history we we always go back to history on this thing but this race has been without historical -- we've had seven different leaders we now may have -- wins today have the first time ever three different people won the first three different races South Carolina usually always picked the president of the nominee. Because somebody else won Iowa New Hampshire first that's always been the case. So this -- understands he still has an uphill battle going to Florida going to a lot of these other states. But this takes a race everybody thought -- how Mitt Romney who is inevitable nominee. -- -- now become wide open at new wins today very quickly Florida becoming key John Berman ABC -- Berman reporting that. -- meet people are working in the line up an endorsement from Jeb Bush which would be huge. Mid does have a series advantages in Florida specifically who's -- money and he's got bullied but if and if -- wins today -- a bid to bump he'll get out of this we'll probably make Florida. Dead even by Tuesday.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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