Lead Story on South Carolina Debate Crammed With 'Conservatives'

Also: Remember the "early promise" of moderate Jon Huntsman Jr.'s presidential campaign? Neither do most Republicans.

New York Times reporter Katharine Seelye reported from the scene of Monday night's Republican debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and indulged in a conservative labeling frenzy: Ten occasions in Seelye's 824-word lead story on Tuesday, not counting the anti-Republican headline: 'Discord in G.O.P. As Conservatives Air Differences.' Seelye also insisted that drop-out candidate and media favorite Jon Huntsman Jr.'s candidacy had not lived up 'to its early promise,' though that promise had never been apparent among actual Republican voters, only among liberal media reporters and editors like those at the New York Times.

It was a different story in 2008, as three Democratic senators with established liberal records (Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards) fought it out for the nomination as 'populists' or 'pragmatists,' or without being tagged by the Times with any ideological labels at all.

A conservative sample platter from Seelye's Tuesday lead:

With new calls on Monday for Republicans to rally around Mitt Romney as their presidential nominee, some conservatives showed new signs of fracturing despite a vote over the weekend by religious leaders to coalesce behind Rick Santorum as an anti-Romney alternative.

Jon M. Huntsman Jr., the moderate former governor of Utah whose candidacy did not live up to its early promise, dropped out of the race and endorsed Mr. Romney, saying, 'It is now time for our party to unite around the candidate best equipped to defeat Barack Obama.

'Despite our differences and the space between us on some of the issues, I believe that candidate is Governor Mitt Romney.' Mr. Huntsman said.

But his call for unity came as evangelical leaders, intent on blocking Mr. Romney's path to the nomination, showed new divisions after having appeared on Saturday to settle on Mr. Santorum as their conservative choice. Four conservative Christian leaders who attended a meeting of evangelicals in Texas asserted their independence on Monday, issuing a statement that said, 'Many there were and still are for Newt Gingrich.'


The squabbling on the conservative end left Mr. Romney as a potential unintended beneficiary, as his opposition remains fractured and he tries to pull off a third straight victory in a nominating contest with Saturday's primary vote here.