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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

April 4, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Mitt Romney faces battle on two fronts — Barack Obama launches general election, yet Rick Santorum fights on

Signs, signs everywhere a sign.

On Tuesday the signs all suggested that the Republican presidential primary was over, done, finito, and that Mitt Romney and Barack Obama were ready to rumble. Someone needs to tell Rick Santorum, though, because he was defiant in defeat.

Sign #1 is that Romney swept the day’s three Republican primaries, in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Wisconsin.

Romney won Maryland by a mile, taking most of the state’s 37 delegates. He won DC and its 19 delegates almost by default because his main GOP rival, Santorum, wasn’t on the ballot. And Romney won Cheese Curd Nation by a bit narrower margin than expected, 44% to 37%, but it was still a comfortable victory. According to the Associated Press (see figure at top of post), Romney has now won more than half of the 1,144 Republican delegates needed to secure the party’s nomination.

Sign #2 is that President Obama on Tuesday ripped the Republican budget plan proposed by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan that last week passed the House of Representatives without a single Democratic vote. Romney has praised Ryan’s budget plan, and Ryan returned the favor by endorsing Romney on Friday and campaigning around Wisconsin with him all weekend.

In his address before a gathering of Associated Press editors, Obama called the budget “laughable” and “thinly veiled Social Darwinism” — and those were some of his kinder comments. Presidents don’t waste such rhetoric on political backbenchers. That Obama went after Romney so viscerally — and by name — in his speech (available below) indicates the White House has begun its re-election campaign.

Sign #3 is that Santorum’s support in Pennsylvania, which is his home state and one where he has guaranteed a win in the April 24 primary, appears to be slumping. A Quinnipiac Poll released Tuesday showed Santorum with a 6% lead over Romney, down from 14% a month ago.

Santorum needs the win in Pennsylvania to have any credibility in the presidential contest, and also to provide him with momentum heading into May, when a string of primaries line up more favorably for him than Romney.

The Sweater Vested One shows no sign of going quietly, however.

He told a gathering in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night that “it’s halftime” in the GOP contest — meaning that roughly half of Republican delegates have been allocated, in large part because delegate-rich Texas, California, and New York have yet to vote. In Santorum’s words, “Pennsylvania and half the country have yet to be heard. We’re here to make sure their voices will be heard in the next few months.”

He added that Republicans had a choice between one candidate with “convictions forged in steel” (he’s referring to himself, I am guessing) and one candidate who drew his values “on an Etch A Sketch” — a reference to a campaign gaffe two weeks ago in which a Romney aide said his candidate’s campaign would shake up issues and ideas after the primary, like the toy.

Later last night, this pro-Santorum information came from ABC News Michael Falcone on twitter:

Remarkably, the Republican Party primary now goes three weeks without any voting. Next up, Pennsylvania plus four other mid-Atlantic states on April 24. For Romney, the challenge is to fight a two-front battle for the next three weeks: one on the primary side, one on the general-election front. No one said the road to the White House was an easy one.

0 Comments | More in National | Topics: Associated Press, Barack Obama, budget

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