Why conservative critics are now backing Mitt Romney
Conservative Republican critics of Mitt Romney are now lining up behind him, in part because the bruising primary race is hurting the GOP in the eyes of voters, say polls.
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The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol - another Romney critic, who has repeatedly called for a new candidate to get into the race - responded by arguing the White House was too important to just write off, and he indicated that his own reluctance to get behind Romney early on would not prevent him from backing the former Massachusetts governor in the future:Skip to next paragraph
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“If some of us have resisted Romney inevitability, or an early Romney coronation, it’s because we don’t think that Romney’s nomination—or at least his easy and early nomination—would increase Republican chances of winning the presidency. Others differ on these questions. But whatever differences conservatives have in March about candidates, strategy and tactics should not affect our determination in the fall, when there is a Republican nominee, to turn our energies to defeating President Obama.”
Likewise, in a piece aptly titled “Stop the Madness and Just Give Us Mitt,” the New York Post’s John Podhoretz writes that Super Tuesday offers “the possibility of something sublime at long last: escape.”
The reason for all this coalescing: As MSNBC’s First Read pointed out Monday morning, there’s growing evidence that the nomination fight is becoming seriously damaging to the Republican brand. According to a new NBC/ Wall Street Journal poll:
“Four in 10 of all adults say the Republican nominating process has given them a less favorable impression of the GOP, versus just 12% with a more favorable opinion. Additionally, asked to describe the nominating battle in a word or phrase, 69% of respondents (including 63% of independents and even 56% of Republicans) answered with a negative comment.”
Romney’s favorable/unfavorable ratings (28/39 percent) are now worse than every other recent candidate who has gone on to win their party’s nomination - including John McCain, John Kerry, George W. Bush, and Bob Dole. The sole exception is Bill Clinton, whose favorable/unfavorable ratings at this point in 1992 stood at 32/43 percent.
The sooner Romney can wrap the fight up and start repairing his image, Republicans seem to be thinking, the better. If he wins big tomorrow, he may be able to do just that.
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