Romney poised to clinch nomination
The Republican has emerged unscathed from the primaries to virtually tie with Obama in polls
MITT ROMNEY’S long march to the Republican presidential nomination was likely to end last night when ballots were counted in the Texas primary.
The Lone Star state was once expected to stage the final battle between Republican contenders, but the race virtually ended when Rick Santorum dropped out on April 10th. On April 25th, Romney self-declared himself the nominee.
With the exception of Texas congressman Ron Paul, all of Romney’s erstwhile rivals have declared support for him, executing verbal pirouettes to reverse past criticism. The Texas primary will award 155 delegates.
According to the Associated Press tally, Romney was yesterday 60 delegates short of the magic number of 1,144. He planned no elaborate celebrations, just a fundraiser with billionaire Donald Trump in Las Vegas. Trump’s outrageous behaviour – for example, having expressed doubt that US president Barack Obama was born in the US – makes him an ally of dubious value.
Romney has succeeded where his late father, the motor executive turned Michigan governor George Romney, failed. In many ways, he is an unlikely nominee: a New Englander in a party rooted in the south; a bland character in a party energised by firebrands; a Mormon among fervent Evangelicals.
The ugly primary contest appears to have left Romney largely unscathed. The fact that he is virtually tied with Obama in most national opinion polls alarms Democrats. The balance in the electoral college is clearly in Obama’s favour, but pundits including Karl Rove, George W Bush’s former strategist, paint a convincing scenario that could take Romney to the White House, especially if the economy worsens.
Romney intends to focus on unemployment this week, playing up the disappointing increase of only 115,000 new jobs in April. Both campaigns eagerly await the release of the May job figures on Friday.
Romney will continue to portray Obama as antipathetic to the business community. “There’s no question but that he’s attacking capitalism,” he told Fox News. “In part I think because he doesn’t understand how the free economy works. He’s never had a job in the free economy, neither has Vice-President Biden.”
The Obama campaign intends to keep hammering away at Romney’s record at Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded in 1984. “People have a visceral reaction to Mitt Romney’s time [at Bain],” Obama strategist Robert Gibbs told CBS.
“What Bain Capital never did was focus on job creation. That is not what Bain Capital does. It loads up companies with debt, takes money out of those companies and pays investors.”