Romney Runs the Table
by Howard Kurtz
His triple victory signals the GOP race is all but over. Howard Kurtz on why Santorum lost—and why he has little chances of derailing Mitt.
Mitt Romney captured the pivotal Wisconsin primary on Tuesday in a three-contest sweep that dimmed the already flickering hopes of Rick Santorum to remain a significant factor in the presidential race.
With much of the media already moving on to a Romney-vs.-Obama fall matchup, Santorum missed the chance to change the narrative by edging his rival in Wisconsin, just as he had fallen short in two other Midwestern battlegrounds, Michigan and Ohio.
The GOP’s Blown Chance
by Mark McKinnon
Santorum got swept. Romney hasn’t quite closed the door, but the party’s chance to fire up voters is over. By Mark McKinnon
I'm not going to pile on like much of the political punditry and declare the race for the GOP nomination over after the flameout in Wisconsin. It's over when Rick Santorum says it's over. And I suspect he'll take a close look at his comeback chances in Pennsylvania on April 24 before making any big decisions. But odds are he won't want to be embarrassed in his home state and fall victim to the Gore rule (if you lose your home state, you shouldn't be president).
Santorum's problem right now is not Mitt Romney; it's Newt Gingrich. Despite all the fanfare about Santorum needing the contest to become a two-man race, just the opposite is true. The only way for Santorum to make a real play would be for Gingrich to remain viable and attract enough delegates so that between them they can keep Romney from reaching a majority.
Romney Wins Now, Loses Later
by Paul Begala
Mitt’s Wisconsin triumph means he’s locked down the nomination. But his victory has cost him dearly with women and Latinos. Will his rightward lurch doom him in November?
April is the kindest month for Mitt Romney. His sweep of Wisconsin, Maryland, and Washington DC makes his lead in delegates effectively insurmountable and his nomination inevitable. Romney is almost certain to win the next cluster of April primaries: Connecticut, Delaware, New York, and Rhode Island, and if he can defeat Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania (where Santorum has not won an election in 12 years), well, then you can call the dogs and pee on the fire, 'cause the hunt will be over.
The GOP nominating fight has been more of a census than an election. Wherever the evangelical vote was high, and income and educational levels low, Santorum or Gingrich tended to win. And where voters were more affluent and moderate, Romney romped. Take Mississippi, please. The majority of Republicans there believe President Obama is a Muslim, according to a much-debated Public Policy Polling survey. (Hey, it's the Magnolia State, not the Mensa State.) 43 percent of the Mississippians who voted in the March 13 GOP primary had a college degree, while 50 percent of Florida Republicans are college grads. Santorum won Mississippi; Romney won Florida.
Romney’s Victory? Or Paul Ryan’s?
by Michael Tomasky
Once again Mitt won by vastly outspending his rivals. But in Wisconsin, native son and right-wing poster-boy Paul Ryan may have made the difference. Will he be Veep?
Two weeks ago, Rick Santorum led Wisconsin, in a couple of polls by double digits. Then the ads started. Mitt Romney outspent Santorum massively—I saw estimates ranging from four-to-one to 10-to-one—and eventually the numbers flipped. In all of these important states—Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and now Wisconsin—Romney has eked out relatively narrow victories over a clearly unelectable opponent for one reason: money.
The most interesting story to emerge out of Wisconsin, though, is the way Romney’s win there will build speculation about him choosing Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate. Ryan endorsed Romney, campaigned with him, handed out sandwiches with him, and introduced him Tuesday night. All this on the same day that President Obama lit into Romney by name and the Ryan budget as extreme “social Darwinism,” signaling that Romney’s support for Ryan’s budget (which features a $265,000 tax cut for millionaires and steep domestic budget cuts) will be a centerpiece of attacks come the fall.
Santorum Hunkers Down
by Ben Jacobs
A win in Pennsylvania would be the knockout blow Mitt Romney has yet to land—but if Santorum holds on there, the long primary could continue.
Despite Mitt Romney's Tuesday night sweep, Rick Santorum isn't ready to throw in the towel yet.
While Romney gave a rousing general election speech Tuesday night, raking what he called “Barack Obama’s government-centered society,” he still hasn’t locked up the Republican nomination. And while Romney cruised to victory in Maryland, where Santorum didn't campaign, and Washington DC, where Santorum wasn't even on the ballot, he pulled out a tight win in Wisconsin, despite a four-to-one television spending advantage.