Romney Camp Gears Up for Long Haul
By Glenn Kessler
BOSTON --"The one thing that is clear is this campaign is going on," Mitt Romney told a crowd gathered at a Boston rally.
As Romney was speaking, networks flashed word that he had won the North Dakota caucuses, his third win of the night and his only victory so far in a state where he had never lived. The crowd waved red thunder sticks and red mitts as he spoke. His speech was his usual collection of talking points, except when he mentioned great Republican presidents: Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush and Teddy Roosevelt. The current president went unmentioned.
Earlier in the evening, while still waiting for the candidate, the crowd awoke from its slumber when Utah was called for Romney with cheers of "We want Mitt: We want Mitt!"
Despite victories so far in only two states where he had a clear advantage -- Massachusetts and Utah -- the Romney folks are gamely insisting that they are in this for the long haul.
Romney spokesman Kevin Madden sat with small groups of reporters to pass the message that this is still a two-person race between John McCain and Romney. "This is going to be a long night," he said. "What we have seen in these early contests is that we have done very well with conservatives." He argued that only Romney could unite what he called economic, social and national security conservatives. "On the issue of electability, this is still a two-person race," he said.
Madden said that the campaign has had "robust fundraising" in the past week. He also argued that after today's blitz of primary and caucus votes, the race would go back to a more traditional primary calendar that would favor Romney. The campaign will meet tomorrow to map out its strategy for the Potomac primaries next week, he said.
It is worth noting that Romney's staff suggested many of his victories would come later in the night. But he did not win Georgia or West Virginia, where the staff said he would be competitive; he only thus far has won Massachusetts, Utah and North Dakota. The other states on the list of the competitive Romney states are California, Colorado, Alaska and Montana, so it might be worth keeping track through the night how he does in those states.
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