As the dust from Super Tuesday settles, the good news for Mitt Romney is that he won the most states, including the grand prize of Ohio. But he definitely wasn't crowned the champion. Rick Santorum scored decisive wins, and those victories—plus Romney's narrow margin of victory in Ohio—highlight the former governor's continued failure to win over much of the Republican base, Reuters notes. What the pundits are saying:
- Romney's weak showing—especially in Tennessee, where he came second to Santorum—"renews questions about whether Republican voters will ever be able to warm to" Romney, who "simply hasn't shown the ability to break through and connect with a diverse coalition of Republican voters," writes Brian Montopoli at CBS.
- Romney's "slow, unsteady march" to the nomination "is coming at a steep price," writes Dan Balz for the Washington Post. "Nomination battles often strengthen the winner, but some take a toll." Considering his demographic (possible trouble with Latinos, women, and independents) and geographic (polls show him behind Obama in Ohio and Virginia) woes, "Romney is in worse shape at this point in the campaign than virtually all recent previous nominees."
- "All of his flaws were on full display" last night, agrees Jonathan Martin for Politico. And here's one tough lesson that emerged: "Getting to Tampa is going to prove longer and costlier than he and his advisers had hoped—a predicament that has Republicans increasingly anxious and President Barack Obama’s high command downright gleeful."
- Last night could have had a very different feel, writes EJ Dionne for the Washington Post. Because some "Ohio counties reported so late, [Romney] didn’t get full credit for that this evening." And that means that "the impact of this Super Tuesday will depend a great deal on spin. Over the next couple of days, Romney has to win the interpretation wars."