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Mitt Romney CPAC

February 12, 2012 by staff 

Mitt Romney CPAC, Mitt Romney won the CPAC straw poll on Saturday, showing new strength among the conservative activists, who, at times, have scorned him as a “RINO” (Republican in name only) in the course of the campaign. Edging out Rick Santorum, Romney’s campaign wasted little time blasting out a press release heralding the victory.

Little wonder. Wins have been scarce for the GOP frontrunner of late. He lost all three caucuses last Tuesday and has fallen 15 points behind the surging Santorum in the latest national poll. He is now viewed unfavorably by almost half of Americans, according to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll. The CPAC victory might help blunt Santorum’s momentum, but Romney still faces a rough road ahead to unite the party behind him, his organizational and money advantages notwithstanding.

Almost every day since last June, when Tim Pawlenty first debuted his stumbling attack on “Obamneycare,” Romney has been under attack. Since that first volley from Pawlenty (who is now a fervent supporter of the ex-Massachusetts governor), Romney has been under fire for flaws ranging from being a “timid Massachusetts moderate” to his role as the rapacious “King of Bain”-and those are just some of the attacks from Newt Gingrich alone. But if, as expected, Romney becomes the GOP nominee, how many of these attacks will stick? After all, certain attacks, like flip-flopping on social issues, carry far more weight among primary voters than they do among those in a general election. However, others like his gaffes stating that he’s “not concerned about the very poor” and his infamous $10,000 bet could linger.

Top Santorum strategist John Brabender thinks Romney’s conservative credentials have been muddied during the primary process. He thinks that Romney has been shown as unable to draw meaningful distinctions with Obama on the “core values” of the conservative movement. Romney is already actively trying to shore himself up with the base and rebut such skepticism. He used his speech at CPAC on Friday to try to reinforce his credentials as “severely conservative,” but his dismal performance among the most conservative voters in states holding presidential preference contests is a foreboding sign for the man who ran to John McCain’s right in 2008.

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