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Romney takes Florida but the race is far from over

By SUSAN WALKER
February 1, 2012

Romney celebrates victory in Florida (AP/Charles Dharapak)

Mitt Romney, as the polls predicted, took the Florida primary by double digits, posting a 14 percent win over South Carolina winner Newt Gingrich: 46 percent to 32.

Rick Santorum finished a distant third with 13 percent and Ron Paul brought up the rear with just seven percent.

But as Romney celebrated his win, a closer look at the returns showed the former Massachusetts governor still has a long way to go to win the hearts and minds of most Republicans.

Gingrich still carried several rural counties in Florida, including the very conservative north.  He lost votes to Santorum and Paul, votes that could have made it a much closer race.

And he is still favored by many Republicans in GOP southern strongholds.

“Gingrich is down but he is far from out,” GOP strategist Arnold Block told Capitol Hill Blue.  “The right-wing base of the GOP is still looking for an alternative to Romney.”

Romney has the money, the organization and the manpower to capture the nomination but the fight will be long, bitter and fractional for a party that needs to find unity if it wants to take the White House away from President Barack Obama in November.

As candidates head to Nevada for Saturday’s caucuses, GOP leaders huddle behind closed doors to see what — if anything — can be done to get Gingrich out of the race and replace him with a better candidate to sell to conservatives.

“Gingrich has too much baggage,” grumbles one long-time GOP consultant.  “He loves playing the spoiler and boy he is stinking up the place right now.”

Gingrich lacks any organization in Nevada where Florida fourth-place finisher Paul may emerge as the leading “anybody but Romney” contender.  The former speaker faces a tough February with most caucuses in states where he isn’t expected to do well.

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7 Responses to Romney takes Florida but the race is far from over

  1. Keith

    February 1, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Mark my words, folks…..it IS over.

    The only remaining question now is who Mr. Romney will choose as his running mate.

    A growing portion of the electorate has now had a good look at Newt and simply don’t like what they see. Newt`s meanness and two-faced hypocrisy are now both clearly evident. Indeed, Newt didn’t even have the common decency to call Mr. Romney and congratulate him on his win in Florida.

    To me, that one act speaks volumes.

  2. Hal Brown

    February 1, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Some things jump out at me that most others ignore. For example Romney said on CNN “I’m in this race because I care about Americans. I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it.”

    “I’m not concerned about the very poor” speak volumes to me even though he adds an afterthought about fixing the safety net if it needs repair. Instead, if he had a comprehension about what it is like to be truly poor in America he would have said that he was concerned about the very poor and would make certain in this land of plenty nobody fell through cracks in the safety net.

    Then there was Gingrich’s tone deaf (pun intended) sarcastic remark about Obama as “entertainer in chief”. Of course you all know that Obama sang his attempt to mimic Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” at Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater. First, this took guts. Second, and most important, it was a tribute to the black American musical heritage which only he, as our first biracial black president could honor in such a way.

    But then, why should Romney care about the votes of the very poor and why should Gingrich care about the votes of black Americans?

    • Sandy Price

      February 1, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      Hal, Mitt clearly defined the Republican Party. We all know that once the safety nets are in the system, the President has little control as after all these years, it will take the Supreme Court to make an action. Normally, he should be redoing much of the actions to prepare Americans for living independently away from the need for federal funding.

      What has been missing in America is the upgrades within the academics. There are large areas where kids cannot qualify for high school. Put Gingrich in and those kids will be trained to be Christian garbage people. God cannot fix stupidity! This has been a huge argument between many Libertarians and Ayn Rand. She claims that all humans can choose to be trained to do and be whatever they want.

      When parents claim that heading back to school is a form of punishment it does great harm to the kid who has not yet learned to love learning. I had a great handyman who never read anything that took his fancy. He could not believe that anyone could have read the number of books on my walls. His granddaughter was going to be a senior in high school next year and was talking about the story of Hamlet. No, they did not have a copy of the play so I grabbed one of mine with the Cliff Notes and sent him on his way. I gave him my copy with all the notes of what was needed in the way of props and costumes hoping it would encourage her to visit me and discuss the play.

      I know your wife had a great love of Shakespeare and I am saddened that I never had the opportunity to meet her. We could have spent months discussing the plays and how to love and adore little white puppies. Getting old is a tragedy for many of us.

  3. eve

    February 1, 2012 at 11:47 am

    The puppet masters are gearing up for another show as the masses take their seats in the theater.

    It would be laughable if it weren’t such a tragic play.

    Yes, the people deserve the government they get and there’s a fine bunch of candidates to choose from this time! (sarc button pushed down so hard it stuck)

    • griff

      February 1, 2012 at 11:41 pm

      If it wasn’t so bad, it would be funny.

  4. Watchman

    February 2, 2012 at 5:52 am

    I am resigned to President Romney. Maybe it won’t be so bad. He can’t be any lazier or less up to the job than Obama, can he?

  5. Sandy Price

    February 2, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Watchman. Neither man is lazy as they have shown an amazing amount of energy in their campaigns. Obama has explained his agenda very well but no one on the GOP list has the ability to define exactly what they will do to fix the problems they will inherit.

    Throwing millions of Americans out of their homes with little income can’t be the desire of even the worst Americans. Recognizing the decades of bad academics in our schools must not simply cut off funding to allow this mess to go on another 10 years. The numbers of unwanted pregnancies causing the number of infant deaths is not the time to stop planned parenthood clinics.

    The time to downsize the government was directly after WW2 not at this time of financial disasters all over America. There is apparently not a single Republican running for office who can address these problems. To allow a government so entrenched in corruption to continue without major changes is not to be accepted.

    Obama allowed the corruption to go without much reaction but to elect those same men who aided the rotters who brought on the housing disaster is beyond belief.

    Rather than vote for anyone who is running today, I would campaign for Barney, Bush’s little black dog as my second choice but Gary Johnson will be my trophy candidate. The current GOP has swallowed the koolaid passed out by Pat Robertson whose candidates want only to kill off Islam making the world a Christian Paradise. The One World Order under God is inching closer to reality.

    If I had someplace to move away from this catastrophe I would do it.