Romney fails to seal the deal on Super Tuesday

Mitt Romney in Boston. Photo: 6 March 2012 In his speech, Mitt Romney talked of going "step-by-step, door-by-door" to a victory

The results on Super Tuesday can be like the mist lifting, bringing a new clarity to our view of the race, revealing a fresh landscape.

This time the picture is almost as murky as before; the outlines are unchanged.

Four years ago on Super Tuesday, George Bush was endorsing John MCain. No-one has been anointed tonight.

Mitt Romney has inched ahead. On paper, looking at the mathematics, he is obviously the winner.

If you dropped in on this race cold, if you hadn't been following the twists and turns, you would be puzzled that anyone would question that.

But the point is he's failed to seal the deal. He has the best organisation and the most money but can't deliver a knockout blow to his rivals.

It is they who evoke passion among the people who are voting.

Rick Santorum has established himself as the main "anti-Mitt".

Rick Santorum speaks in Ohio. Photo: 6 March 2012 Rick Santorum has has to pull off some exceptional coups in the next few primaries

But he would have to pull off some exceptional coups in the next few primaries to convince people that he can win, that he can be the Republican candidate, rather than just the main repository for conservative protest votes.

Of course, Newt Gingrich would say that he's the one who is going to stun observers, and win in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

He has put himself back in the race by winning Georgia: he gets secret service protection from today, the US Government's seal of seriousness on a candidate.

He declared, "There are a lot of bunny rabbits to run through; I am the tortoise." He says the elite, the media, the establishment, the forces of Wall Street (Mitt Romney) wanted to kill him off but have failed.

It's bold talk, but he only won one state out of 10, and that was his home state. His results were unimpressive elsewhere.

Ron Paul is in a different category. He is at this stage fighting for his philosophy rather than to become president.

He took large chunks of the vote in many states and will stay in the race.

So they all battle on. Only a string of defeats for Romney seriously changes the arc of this story.

After Super Tuesday, the conviction of most commentators will be strengthened that he will in the end win: he will be the Republican candidate in the autumn to take on Barack Obama.

But when in his speech Romney talked of going "step by step, door by door", it felt like it came from the heart.

It must feel like he is crawling across an endless plain on broken glass, the mirage of eventual victory shimmering ever in the distance.

Mark Mardell Article written by Mark Mardell Mark Mardell Presenter, The World This Weekend

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  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    "He [Obama] admonished his opponents and warmongers on the consequences of war"

    Somebody who's not even been a member of ROTC (let alone military) is not in a position to know what war/combat is all about.

    Let alone instruct those who do know something about it.

    [Barack Hussein, community organizer, cease and desist!]

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    7th March 2012 - 12:28
    Re: 43. dgp
    Is this bunch really the best a country the size of the US can come up with.

    No, but the best and the brightest hardly ever get involved in politics.

    US' best&brightest preferring to dominate Nobel Science prize winners' list in the last 60 years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    ColadadelCid (61),

    "... being applauded by delusional audiences of backward Bible-banging yahoos who think they are picking the next American Messiah who will convert the US into an Iran type radical theocracy ..."

    Foolish nonsense. Amusing, but still foolish nonsense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    53. mscracker
    Translated, 'He may be a flip-flopper, but he's my flip-flopper.'
    We do far to much of this in the US, i.e. He may be a [...] but he's my/our [...]. Self censored to pass moderation. This seems to guarantee that whatever we vote for, we surely won't get it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    14. powermeerkat
    I was going to let it pass, but 2 posters have now made the same mistake. The electoral college has nothing to do with the party infighting. They are the ones who cast the electoral votes in the real election, after the November vote.


Comments 5 of 80



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