I must say the only people who have truly believed Romney is the presumptive nominee have been the establishment Republicans and the leftist media. Now that the voting has begun these two groups of Romney supporters are beside themselves wondering why the electorate refuses to fall in line! Romney has won the most liberal primary so far (New Hampshire) but lost the first primary (Iowa) and may very well lose, today, the most conservative primary thus far (South Carolina). Time will tell. - Reggie
What’s wrong with Mitt Romney?
In the early stages of this cycle’s Republican nominating process, the former Massachusetts governor seemed confident and sure-footed. Now he seems awkward and defensive.
The strength of his debate performances in the summer and fall allowed him to swat aside challengers including Tim Pawlenty and Rick Perry.
Banishing memories of his halting 2008 campaign-trail persona, Romney propelled himself into a commanding position, victory almost within his grasp.
In recent weeks, however, the socially uncomfortable Romney from 2008 has been on display, and parodied on “Saturday Night Live” for watching football with his “five human sons.”
Romney seems to have gone into a defensive crouch, leaving many Republicans feeling like football fans who watch their team move to a ‘prevent defense’ to protect a fourth-quarter lead and dread losing all of it. Their nerves are being jangled even as they acknowledge that outright disaster has so far been averted.
“For some reason, he has slipped into this ‘I’m trying not to lose’ mode — and that’s when you do lose,” said Republican strategist Keith Appell, who is not aligned with any of this year’s presidential candidates.
It’s important not to overstate the perils Romney faces. He is still by far the best-funded candidate in the race. He has a state-by-state infrastructure that is the envy of his rivals. Even if he were to lose Saturday's South Carolina primary, he would likely remain the overall favorite to clinch the nomination.
But the procession of errors has been striking nonetheless — and it has raised concerns among many in the GOP about his vulnerabilities in a general election contest with President Obama.