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Presidential race has become two-man: Romney versus Obama

Mitt Romney’s chances of winning his party’s nomination increase daily. He's reframing his campaign to take on Barack Obama, who's also approaching full-campaign mode with an eye on Romney.

By Staff writer / March 31, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney greets supporters after he spoke at a fish fry dinner at the American Serb Memorial Hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Friday, March 30, 2012. Wisconsin holds its presidential primary election Tuesday.

Darren Hauck/Reuters

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The Republican presidential contest seems to have come down to a two-man race, and we’re not talking about Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

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No, Romney’s chances of winning his party’s nomination increase daily, if opinion polls are to be believed and if high-level endorsements mean anything. Except for saying he understands his closest GOP rival’s frustration in falling farther behind, Romney now is all but ignoring Santorum. So if there’s a two-man race, it’s between Romney and President Obama.

"It's pretty obvious this nomination is essentially over," GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell told CNBC this week, about the time Romney was winning endorsements from former president George H. W. Bush, and House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, following the endorsements of former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio.

Mitt Romney: top 5 attacks on President Obama

In his speech at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis. Friday, the former Massachusetts governor made clear who he now sees as his main competitor for the White House.

"Barack Obama and I have fundamentally different visions for America," Romney said as he stumped for Tuesday’s winner-take-all primary in Wisconsin. "He spent the last three or four years laying the foundation for a new government-centered society. I will spend the next four years rebuilding the foundation of our opportunity society, led by free people and their free enterprises."

In essence, Romney may not be doing the full Etch-A-Sketch, but he is reframing his campaign toward November’s general election.

In his speech Friday, Romney focused on the economy, which he sees as his strong suit.

"President Obama did not cause the recession but he most certainly failed to lead the recovery,” Romney said, pointing to lost jobs, poverty rates, home foreclosures, and Obamacare, which he said “discouraged small businesses and health companies from hiring new workers.”

"For the first time since World War II, our national debt is greater in size than our entire United States economy," Romney said.

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