Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Big Weekend for Romney

I think this week is an important one for Mitt Romney for a couple of reasons. First, March 1st there is a straw poll in Spartanburg, South Carolina that will be a revealing indicator on where Romney stands in this key primary state (it will also be very interesting to see how Giuliani fares). After several somewhat rough weeks in the press, a strong showing could help quiet the unrest. Second, the CPAC Conference in DC this weekend will give Romney the opportunity to gauge his support among some key GOP conservatives as he appears alongside the current Republican frontrunners. Romney, in my mind, needs to make a strong showing at both events. After running ads in a number of key primary states last week, he's upped the ante and if he doesn't see some bounce from it, people are going to start asking why.

It's apparent that there is still a lot of suspicion about Romney among social conservatives. This last weekend at a meeting of the Council for National Policy, prominent conservatives, including James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, and Grover Norquist, pushed hard to enlist South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford as a candidate because "There is no outstanding conservative, and they are all looking for that." Romney also has a lot of social conservatives who are actively attacking him (especially in the Northeast).

In spite of these hurdles, however, Romney has an enormous amount going for him. He has been a prodigious fundraiser and some liberals see him as a the candidate to beat (some might argue the other GOP candidates do too). I think these next couple of months will be telling though... starting, of course, with this weekend.

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