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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Not Closing the Deal

This morning you were going to read a post from me saying Mitt Romney was definitely now the nominee and it was time for Santorum and Gingrich to drop out. The post was predicated on late polling and early corresponding exit polling from yesterday showing that Mitt Romney won Mississippi. He had finally won in the south.

But the early exits changed with the late exits. The late polling was wrong. Happily I could delete my post. Not only did Mitt Romney not win either Alabama or Mississippi, but he is, as you wake up, coming in third in both. The polls were wrong.

Yesterday, Mitt Romney went on CNN and told Wolf Blitzer that Rick Santorum’s campaign was coming to a “desperate end.” That seems more apt this morning to Romney’s southern campaign. Given his poor showing, it’s understandable if you expect Newt Gingrich to call on Romney to get out.

There is a lot to review in this biggest story of the day. But the start should be a simple question: does Mitt Romney need more debates?

The Romney camp signaled it was tired of the debates. But in the Florida debates the Romney camp largely destroyed Gingrich before winning Florida. In the Mesa, AZ debate on CNN the Romney camp ruined Rick Santorum before winning Arizona and barely Michigan.

Both times the Romney campaign used good debate performances to rebound lagging poll numbers into real momentum. Then he decided to stop debating. Out of sight and out of mind, conservatives forgot why they thought he was the guy who could beat Obama.

Does he need to get back to debating?

The most striking thing about last night’s elections is that none of the candidates can close the deal. In effect, there was a three way tie, though it worked to Romney’s disadvantage.

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