Mitt Romney Holds Onto Lead, Sort Of

Pundits weigh in on what his Michigan, Arizona victories mean
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 29, 2012 7:52 AM CST

(Newser) – Mitt Romney may have had to sweat a little, but he won in both Michigan and Arizona last night. Is he the favorite for the nomination again? Here's what pundits are saying:

  • We'll let Romney himself have the first word: "We didn't win by a lot, but we won by enough, and that's what matters," he said in his victory speech. Most pundits seem to agree. "Winning is winning," writes Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post. "A loss in Michigan would have crippled his campaign beyond repair."

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  • Still, Maggie Haberman of Politico thinks he's unlikely to gain momentum heading into Super Tuesday. "For him, the election cycle has been win, no bounce, repeat. And he continues to be eyed warily, and without passion, by a significant chunk of the GOP base."
  • Speaking of Super Tuesday, don't expect it to end the race, warns Christopher Rowland of the Boston Globe. A knockout punch looks unlikely, meaning the big day will just "preface a potentially agonizing spring for the Republicans. It is the proverbial 'long slog.'"
  • Rick Santorum, meanwhile, "can claim a moral victory of sorts" since he did so well in a state he had little hope in a few weeks ago, writes Jonathan Tobin of Commentary. But he "lost his one golden opportunity to demolish the frontrunner," thanks to gaffes that demonstrated his "poor political judgment and his predilection for outlandish ideology-driven statements."
  • Newt Gingrich has cash again, but his candidacy is looking increasingly doomed. If he doesn't win Georgia at least, he's finished.
  • "Ron Paul is now seen as a Romney surrogate," Politico observes, which makes him a bit of an afterthought. It's hard to be a "movement candidate" when you spend your time deflecting attacks at the establishment candidate.
(Read more Michigan primary stories.)

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