Campaign Headlines March 12, 2012: Rivals Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich Call Mitt Romney a Weak Choice for G.O.P. Nomination — Weakest front-runner since 1920

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Rivals Call Romney a Weak Choice for G.O.P. Nomination

Source: NYT, 3-12-12

With two key Southern primaries on the horizon this week, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich sharpened their attacks against Mitt Romneyon Sunday, as Mr. Santorum bluntly declared that his leading rival “can’t close the deal,” and Newt Gingrich called Mr. Romney the party’s weakest front-runner since 1920.

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While much of the attention is focused on Mr. Romney, the Republican contests in Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday could bring a new measure of clarity to the field. The tension between Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Santorum is steadily increasing, but Mr. Gingrich has rejected suggestions that he leave the race if he fares poorly in the two primaries.

“I think we’re probably pulling ahead in both states right now,” Mr. Gingrich said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” He rejected the assertion that Mr. Santorum was the strongest conservative in the race, saying: “I think there’s a space for a visionary conservative with big solutions.”

Mr. Santorum, who swept to a commanding victory in the Kansas caucuses on Saturday, stopped short of joining his aides and supporters in calling for Mr. Gingrich to end his campaign. But he made clear that a two-man race with Mr. Romney was the party’s best chance to present a conservative alternative for Republicans.

“Speaker Gingrich can stay in as long as he wants, but I think the better opportunity to nominate a conservative is to give us an opportunity to go head-to-head with Gov. Romney,” Mr. Santorum said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Hopefully that occurs sooner rather than later.”

The Republican presidential campaign has become a race to win 1,144 delegates needed to secure the party’s nomination. Mr. Romney holds a significant advantage over his rivals, but his advisers believe that he will not reach the delegate threshold for at least two more months….READ MORE

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