Analysis: Romney Still Struggles To Seal The Deal

Mitt Romney's march to a possible Republican presidential nomination just got a lot longer and harder.

Front-runner Romney left Tuesday's round of three nominating contests with another reminder of his own shortcomings, after a two-state winning streak that had placed him firmly in the driver's seat in the nomination race.

Bad losses to rival Rick Santorum in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota raised more questions about whether conservative Republicans are ready to give their hearts to a millionaire former Massachusetts governor who once supported abortion rights and a government requirement that people have health insurance.

Romney may still be the front-runner in the race to pick the Republican candidate to challenge President Barack Obama in the November 6 U.S. election. But nothing is coming easily for him in this most volatile of Republican nominating races.

The next big showdowns will be in Michigan and Arizona on February 28. Romney grew up in Michigan, where his father was a former governor and car executive, and Arizona could be another high-stakes showdown similar to Florida.

"He wanted to run through February and roll into Super Tuesday as the presumptive nominee, and that's just not going to happen now," Republican strategist Ford O'Connell said. "This is a wake-up call for Romney, but it's not the end-all."

Super Tuesday is March 6, with contests in 10 states.

"Team Romney might need to tweak its strategy. So far they've been successful in going negative on their opponents and touting his business experience," O'Connell said.

"But obviously Republican primary voters are hungry for something more. A lot of folks see him as a single-issue candidate right now," he said.

Read more from John Whitesides at Reuters

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published this page in In The News 2012-02-08 09:00:00 -0500
Analysis & Political Strategy