Romney's Next Move: Get Back in Position for November

National Journal Staff

Rick Santorum has every right to continue his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, just as Edward Kennedy did when he carried his fight against President Carter to the Democratic convention in 1980, and just as Hillary Rodham Clinton did through the last of the primaries four years ago. But Santorum’s right to persevere doesn’t preclude our right to say, “Put a fork in it; this thing is done.”

For Mitt Romney and the Republican Party, this stage of the campaign didn’t come a minute too soon. The rehabilitation of the presumptive nominee and his party is long overdue. Ever since Congress began wrangling over the economic-stimulus and health care packages and since the tea party movement got its start, the Republican Party has detoured to the right. 

My hunch remains that this will be a very close election. But it’s clear that we’re witnessing a pretty low point for the GOP and for Romney. Both have been pulled way to the right and need to scramble over the next seven months to get back into position for the general election. Read more

-- Charlie Cook
The Cook Report 


On Jobs, Romney and Obama Argue Over Fullness of the Glass
[New York Times, 4/6/12] Confronting a weaker-than-expected employment report, Obama said Friday that he welcomes news that the economy had added 120,000 jobs, although he acknowledged “we’ve still got a lot to do.” Meanwhile, Romney played up numbers that show the overall labor market is shrinking.

Santorum Campaign Says Daughter Bella Hospitalized Again
[National Journal, 4/6/12] Rick Santorum’s 3-year-old daughter, Bella, has once again been hospitalized, the campaign said in an e-mail. Bella suffers from a rare genetic disorder called trisomy 18, and was also hospitalized back in January, then recovered and was released. There is no word on her current condition.

Winner-Take-All Primary for Texas Unlikely
[National Journal, 4/6/12] Weston Martinez of the Texas State Republican Executive Committee is leading a movement to award all of the state’s 152 delegates to the primary winner -- a change from the proportional allocation the state adopted earlier this year when they tried to move their primary to Super Tuesday. But the RNC says a winner-take-all primary is unlikely.

Romney’s SWAT Team Closes Out the Primaries
[BuzzFeed, 4/6/12] Ryan Williams and Molly Donlin lead a small group of staffers who have run nearly every important primary victory for the Romney camp. But the decision to run what are effectively pop-up campaigns in the primary states has the downside that when the team departs, they leave little behind: Romney never built the sort of large volunteer operation Obama assembled in 2008.

A New World for Romney  
[Associated Press, 4/5/12] Kasie Hunt writes that the transition from the primary season is well under way for Romney and his team as the GOP front-runner campaigns this week across Pennsylvania—a state that is sure to be a general-election battleground.

Obama Camp Takes Aim at Report on Romney’s Bain Earnings
[National Journal, 4/5/12] Obama and Romney are dueling over a Washington Post report that Romney has been able to legally decline to disclose a large portion of his holdings due to an exception in federal ethics laws. The Obama camp slammed the GOP front-runner for being a “corporate buyout specialist,” while Romney’s machine says Obama is trying to distract people from his own record.

Column: Romney Is Clueless on Who Is ‘Out of Touch’ 
[Boston Globe, 4/6/12] Romney has repeatedly attacked the president for being “out of touch.” But, longtime columnist Scot Lehigh writes, the former Massachusetts governor, who spent years on Planet Money, has no right to throw that label.

RNC Neutrality Challenged on Romney  
[Politico, 4/6/12] The Republican National Committee was supposed to play the part of umpire this GOP primary season, but some Republicans are arguing that the RNC took steps that helped tilt the contest toward Romney. Meanwhile, the RNC has raised over $110 million in the past 15 months.

A ‘War on Women’ or a Battle for Their Votes?
[Washington Post, 4/5/12] One thing is certain: There is a political battle raging over women. If that wasn’t clear after weeks of argument over contraception, it became so on Thursday when caterpillars and country clubs got dragged into the fray.

Resentment Lingers in Pennsylvania After Santorum’s Loss 
[Associated Press, 4/6/12] After failing to heal rifts with fiscal conservatives or reassure party leaders that he could temper his hard-line social positions, Santorum is as unpopular in the Keystone State today as he was six years ago when his home state kicked him out of the Senate. But the former senator is still not deterred.

Pro-Santorum Super PAC Quiet Ahead of Keystone State Primary
[The Hill, 4/5/12] Stuart Roy, an adviser for the Red White and Blue Fund, told The Hill that there was “nothing to announce at the moment” on spending by the pro-Santorum super PAC. But this news doesn’t necessarily mean the super PAC thinks Santorum is going to exit the race.

Rob Portman and the Veepstakes 
[Politico, 4/6/12] Romney’s VP pick will come down to two basic choices: whether he wants a running mate who helps him govern, or one who helps him politically. Right now, the name on the lips of many GOP strategists is Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, but Romney is facing some daunting political conerns that a Portman pick won’t ease.

Romney Goes After Obama on Fracking
[National Journal, 4/5/12] Romney appears determined to depict Obama as being anti-energy development: During a rally in Pennsylvania on Thursday, the GOP front-runner said the Obama administration has been overregulating in order to slow hydraulic fracturing.  

Ron Paul Not Sure He’ll Support Romney 
[San Francisco Chronicle, 4/6/12] On a three-day campaign swing in California that has attracted overflow crowds, Ron Paul said on Thursday his withdrawal from the race is "not going to happen"—and he isn't certain he'll support Romney should the front-runner win the party's nomination.

Gingrich Looks for Win in Delaware
[Cape Gazette, 4/5/12] Gingrich has little shot at the nomination, but he’s continuing to hit the trail—this time in Delaware, where he delivered a message to the 9-12 Delaware Patriots. He said he’s staying in the race because he hopes to later debate Obama.


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