The race for the Republican nomination essentially ended on January 31st when Mitt Romney decisively won Florida by almost 15 points. Florida Republicans are strong conservatives. They picked Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., over moderate Charlie Christ. They elected Tea Party favorite Rick Scott governor. Romney’s wide margin of victory in the state should have proved he can unite conservatives in November.
But Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum insisted on pressing on. They did end up winning some very red states that any Republican nominee would win in a general election anyway. But in all the big contests, in all the states where the general election will be decided in the fall, Romney bested his competitors.
The results last night in Wisconsin were much the same, except Romney’s margin of victory only widened.
Romney didn’t only get more votes than Santorum did in Wisconsin yesterday, he also won among the very same voters Santorum has been surviving on for the past couple months. In Ohio, Santorum won among those making less than $50,000 by three points. Last night, Romney won them by two. In Ohio, Santorum won among non-college graduates by five points. Last night, Romney won them by four. In Ohio, Santorum won among those identifying themselves as “conservative” by six points. Last night, Rommney won them by eight.
At The Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol, an ardent Romney skeptic, writes: “Rick Santorum is entitled to stay in the race, and to offer voters in the remaining states an alternative. But it’s probably time for him to do what Mike Huckabee did in similar circumstances in 2008—basically to stop attacking the almost inevitable nominee, and instead to adjust his own message going forward to a positive and issues-based one.”
That is fair. Santorum fought hard to establish his last-not-Romney-standing status. He has earned the right to continue building his post-election brand in much the same way Huckabee did in 2008. He’ll get his own book deal, his own Fox News contract, and maybe even his own show. But he will not be the nominee. And he needs to start acting like he knows that now.
Around the Bigs
CBS News, Appeals court fires back at Obama’s comments on health care case: A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit fired back at President Obama yesterday, scolding him for his attack on the judicial branch’s independence. At a hearing on a separate challenge to the health care law by physician-owned hospitals, Appeals Court Judge Jerry Smith told DOJ lawyers it wasn’t clear whether the president believes federal courts can strike down unconstitutional laws.
ABC News, Ryan Responds to Obama Criticism: After Obama called House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s, R-Wis., recently passed budget, “thinly veiled social Darwinism,” Ryan shot back, calling Obama, “desperate and demagogic.” “The president’s attacks on our budget are as disappointing, as revealing as his attacks on the Supreme Court,” Ryan said. “It seems that he takes anyone questioning his vision of limitless government as a personal affront and he’s lashing out. That’s hardly the kind of leadership we were expecting when he ran for office.”
The Wall Street Journal, Fisker’s Plans at Car Plant in Doubt: Fisker Automotive, a recipient of over $500 million in taxpayer loans from the Obama administration, announced yesterday it would not be building its luxury electric-vehicle in the United States as it had promised.
Bloomberg, Home Prices Seen Dropping 10% in U.S. on Foreclosures: According to RealtyTrac, home prices could drop as much as 10 percent as 1.25 million of America’s least cared-for homes are headed for auction.
Judicial Watch is reporting that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is working on a plan that would grant “unlawful presence waivers” to illegal aliens who can prove they have a relative that’s a U.S. citizen.
A The Weekly Standard, Adam White highlights Obama’s past speeches calling for the Supreme Court to be more aggressive in striking down federal laws.
Paul Ryan fact checks Obama’s latest budget speech.
The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent identifies the three political objectives of Obama’s latest budget speech.
Talking Points Memo talks to Jeffrey Toobin, who is standing by his doomsday prediction for the health care law.
The New York Times Andrew Rosenthal says Obama “fumbled and stumbled” his attack on the Supreme Court.