Romney aims to pressure Santorum out

2012-04-03 11:04
Milwaukee - Mitt Romney can take a big step toward the Republican US presidential nomination on Tuesday with victories in Wisconsin and two other contests that would increase the pressure on rival Rick Santorum to drop out of the race.

The grinding, months-long battle for the right to face Democratic President Barack Obama in the November 6 election turns to Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington DC, and Romney leads in all three.

A sweep would underscore front-runner Romney's growing strength and likely increase appeals from party leaders for Republicans to rally behind him despite deep reservations among many conservatives suspicious about whether he is one of them.

Practically, winning all three contests would give Romney 95 more delegates and put him at well over half of the 1 144 needed to clinch the nomination at the party's convention in August.

And it would set the tone for the next big date on the campaign calendar, April 24, when six states hold Republican presidential contests.

Romney leads in five of them and plans to make an aggressive push in the sixth, Santorum's home state of Pennsylvania. He travels there on Wednesday.

Gunning for Obama

Wisconsin is the most closely watched race of the trio voting on Tuesday because Santorum, a conservative former US senator, has campaigned heavily in the state and had led in the polls until ceding the lead to the Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and private equity executive, in the last week or so.

Sensing the nomination is in sight, Romney has made no mention in recent days of Santorum or his other Republican rivals, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, preferring instead to pivot to a general election campaign against Obama over the president's handling of the US economy.

While the economy has been showing signs of progress, Romney says high unemployment, high poverty and burdensome regulations remain serious challenges that prove Obama has been a failure.

"His economic strategy was a bust," Romney told supporters in Milwaukee on Monday. "And one of the reasons why we're going to take over the White House is because he doesn't know how this economy works, and we do."

If he does win the nomination as expected, Romney would face the challenge of defeating an incumbent president whose campaign operation is well-funded, organised and eager to pounce on any misstep.

Romney also would enter the general election campaign at a distinct disadvantage among women voters, who could be critical in swinging the election.

Santorum's strategy

Santorum wants to survive Wisconsin and the rest of April and move on to May, where the states that vote may be more favourable to him. He would have to win an overwhelming percentage of the remaining delegates to win the nomination outright.

But Santorum seems to have a different strategy: Win enough delegates to deny outright victory to Romney.

This would force Republicans to choose their candidate at a "brokered" convention in Tampa, a chaotic scenario that many political experts believe could be disastrous to the party's hopes of ousting Obama.

"I would argue even if it ends up in a convention, that's a positive thing for the Republican Party, that's a positive thing for activating and energising our folks heading into this fall election," he told reporters on Monday.

Trying to appeal to blue-collar voters, Santorum has held small campaign events in Wisconsin, frequently appearing in bowling alleys.

He has been relentless in his attacks on Romney as a Massachusetts moderate who would govern little differently than Obama. He insists he is staying in the race.

Romney has benefited from the endorsement in Wisconsin of Paul Ryan, the popular conservative from the state who is chairperson of the powerful House of Representatives Budget Committee.

The two men have appeared side by side at multiple campaign events and appear to have a warm relationship, leading to news media speculation that Ryan could ultimately be on Romney's short list for the vice presidential nomination.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  mitt romney  |  rick santorum  |  us  |  us elections 2012

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.