Wolf Blitzer delivers the most important breaking news and political, international, and national security stories of the day. Tune to The Situation Room weekdays 5-7pm ET on CNN.
By Wolf Blitzer, CNN
(CNN) - Allow me to insert some caution in assessing the Republican presidential campaign. As much as so many folks are already suggesting that Mitt Romney has it all but wrapped up, let me suggest that it’s not over yet.
Sure Romney has a solid organization with lots of campaign cash. He’s also blessed with a strong super PAC that can inflict major damage on his GOP rivals. And beyond that, he has some strong political instincts and a wonderful wife and family who are major weapons.
But he will have to fight very hard to win South Carolina despite the fact its Gov. Nikki Haley is on his side.
Newt Gingrich and his super PAC are going after Romney big time. Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum will do the same.
These next 10 days will be critical for Romney. He will face nonstop attack ads. He will have to fight back and it will get ugly.
But unlike Gingrich in Iowa, Romney does have the financial resources to fight back with television commercials in South Carolina.
Romney, like John McCain in South Carolina four years ago, does have another asset. The conservative, tea party, anyone-but-Romney vote will be split among his rivals. In 2008, Mike Huckabee probably would have won the GOP primary in South Carolina if Fred Thompson hadn’t divided that conservative, evangelical vote. That gave the state to McCain. The same could happen now in Romney’s favor.
Bottom line for Romney: the more, the merrier. Keep as many candidates in the race. If a solid and single non-Romney candidate would emerge to face him one-on-one, who knows what would happen?
Follow Wolf Blitzer on Twitter: @WolfBlitzerCNN
RELATED STORY: South Carolina in spotlight after Romney win in N.H.
Ron Paul's hunting delegates...cut the hounds loose ! Geithner's at the WEF in Davos Switzerland and doesn't think he'll be back for a second term if Obama loses.
"People shouldn't look on Romney as a friend, but more like a salesman who works at/for the same company as you do. He's just a workmate, and you feed him on possible leads."
It looks as though Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee. As a Canadian I believe if elected as President he would run America as a centrist much like Obama. However, I am not sure he has a chance against Obama.
These clowns are filling the tents everywhere and looks like they really don't care who they shoot out of the Cannon. This party has become the joke of the century. Keep it coming, the democrats are loving every minute of their hiddious acts.
Dear Wolf, Thank you and the hard-working CNN staff for providing an informative, open, and unbiased window into this most ugly of Republican primaries. To witness the negativity and mean-spirited attitudes of the current Republican candidates towards each other, plus their cruel attempts using any nasty verbal and other means to bring down the current President of our country, is very disrespectful and alarming in my opinion. With the whole world watching, the candidates should be more mindful of the bashing of other countries as well. NO, politics as usual in America as presented in this current Republican presidential primary, has no place in evolving towards a more hopeful and just society for all the people. Candidates: STOP the bashing!!! Please.
Ron Paul would make Romney look like a fool if he could debate him 1 on 1
Hey Wolf, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Wait till the candidates are set and the DNC cuts loose. This will be the ugiliest campaign season ever. Bile coming from both sides.
this is going to come down to Paul and Romney, and this is why I come to this conclusion. Ginrich and perry are not even on the ballot in two states. Ron Paul is 76 and this is his last run so I believe He will go all the way and try to grab as much delegates as possible. after S.C three candidates will drop. 1. Huntsman, Santorum, Perry and maybe Gingrich but def. Huntsman and perry. will be over with when SC is done. in the end it will be Paul Vs Romney and if the paul camp plays thier cards right they will manage to slow Romney to a grinding halt
Romney is so out of touch. I agree with many comments that if elected he will do exactly what Bush did: cut taxes, cut regulation, and not put some government spending in the budget so that the deficit explodes and we go through the economic collapse of 2008 all over again, but next time it will be worse. We're all supposed to beleive in this philosphy of governing and then wait for economic prosperity to "trickle down" to the majority of American workers. The American people have been hearing this Republican BS for 30 years. It doesn't work. I can't believe people are listening to Romney and still believing that this philosophy of governing works.
and i love how millions of people are now poor like me so they know how it feels. Obama is the great equalizer. Yes we can!
i like the change we've been given with obama. We no longer capture suspected terrorists, we just shoot them in the head. I wish bush would have done the same. Water boarding is so cruel. I'd much rather take a bullet to the head than be dipped in water a few times. Yes we can! Yes we can!
It will be ugly for the TeaPublicans as their bad-tempered and unstable 'candidates' fight like cats in a sack. When it's over, they will all have black eyes and bad reputations, and Mitt will be the GOP nominee as expected.
if you want to blame anyone for are mess were in lets start with the house of rep domanted by rethugs bent on keeping the rich richer they past fewer bills in the last 4 years then any time in history mean wile blaming Obama for not getting anything done you people really want change lets start there and any rethugs who belive in any of theses clowns please try reading there pollicy Mitts tax plan is the same as bush only worse it well have a 60% increase in taxes on the poor and a 80% decrease on the rich oh and for all ya Ron Paul nuts here a fact for ya he spent 20 years in congress and you know how many of his bills got past just 1 thats as big as a failure in politics as you can get you rethugs are whats wrong with this grate united states in every way please stay home on voting day
Romney has 2% of the 1144 delegate votes needed to win. But Romney will NEVER beat Ron Paul for the Presidency.
Polls show Ron Paul will easily dominate the big delegate states such as Texas and California. Ron Paul will beat Romney in the south.
EVEN IF Ron Paul looses the Republican nomination, he BEATS OBAMA and ROMNEY as an Independent because there is NO OTHER CANDIDATE who does well with Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, AND Independents!
Romney acts so arrogant. I cant wait till he feels the wrath of Obama. Its going to get very ugly & in the end Romney will go back to one of his mansions bruised & battered after loosing this election. Its unwise to underestimate Obama & the millions of middle class Americans who can see right through him. Obama 2012
The uglier the better! I am thoroughly enjoying seeing the Republicans cannibalize their own. I hope they
destroy each other. Being Texan I'm completely ashamed that two of these POTUS wannabe's are from
my state. I truly hope that the damage they do to each other results in Barack Obama's re-election.
Paul would win... I have had discussions with people that have said they would vote for Paul just to spite the media's lack of support for him... Imagine Wolf on air explaining a Paul win... Now THAT would be entertainment!
Mittens has really big money and guns behind him. He has sold his soul and will stop at nothing to get into the White House. I do hope SC puts him in his place!
is that Sheldon Adelson, the man who has made billions of dollars owning and running casinos (the ultimate "vulture capitalist" endeavor) is the man behind the funding attacking Romney and Bain Capital. Bain Capital helped bring us Staples, Sports Authority, Dominos and many other legitimate businesses that do more than just con people out of their money with cards and a rotating wheel. Just look at the source of funding....
Good point. But maybe the Adelson man feels guilty. Needs to make amends. So he knocks Romney out and Obama is a shoo- in. After all this is a video came. Some of the commentators think this is real.
10 days? You mean 10 months don't you?
I think it will be over sooner. They will all be gone except Mitt as the GOP nominee and Paul as the Teabagger nominee. That will be boring and the coverage will slow down, then stop completely. There will be a page two article one day saying OBAMA RE-ELECTED WHILE MITT SNORES.
I see that Lear Jet in the background. I smell a rich man. Get him boys!
Yes,the Divided States of America are becoming increasingly more divided every day.Romney ,a business man without much of a social concience,perhaps a tad untrustworthy and apparently quite proud of all these things.Up to November
to experience a great debate.........
Gerry at Edmonton.Can.
It is a simple fact that Romney made a career and a fortune at Bain, and EVERY venture capital firm aggressively pursues recovering cash from failed investments. Legal conniving generally puts them at the head of the line and they do routinely and callously hurt others. In the course of 15 years, there will be tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of people on the pointy end of Bain's stick. Romney calls it free enterprise because he hasn't experienced the bleeding that comes from corporate plundering and massive layoffs. He just keeps getting richer.
No, Venture capitalists take a business that is failing and turn it into a successful business. Some people may lose jobs, but a whole lot more are employed. The alternative is that EVERYONE would lose their job when the business went down. My brother in law just turned a failing business into a thriving one in Detroit, and many people were able to keep their jobs and their homes, with relatively few losses. Not only that, but many more will be employed in the future.
A Day of Reconing will be had by all. Wait and Watch.
As far as we can tell, Romney's plan to fix the economy is to reduce taxes on the wealthy and to remove regulations from the financial sector. He is also in favor of starting another Middle East war. These are exactly the same strategies that George W. Bush used. The question then is, how did that work out for us? If it was a great success we should definitely go back there. In fact, weren't those also the policies advocated by McCain in 2008? Maybe we should have cancelled that election and let Bush stay.
That's not what Romney said.
You are so right. Romney: The embodiment of Wall Street and the MIC. Both of which are treacherous and traitorous. They care enough about the 99% as the Milkens and Boesky's did. Obama will still wipe the floor with him.
The Republican Party in Florida has done itself a disservice by it's winner take all gambit. It may look good on paper but it removes the voices of the populace in one fell swoop. The GOP in FL wants to anoint not nominate. So be it, Florida is bought and paid for. A smart man looks to Super Tuesday and puts the money where it needs to be, winning delegates.
if you dont vote for ron paul go take an economics course
If you Do vote for Ron Paul you have already swallowed the witch Doctor Paul's poisonous potion...
Yeah.....and Saturday will also be ugly.........3:16 31....Patriots 21!
I am sure we will see all the dirty tricks and comments that the Republicans can muster. Prelude to the real election.
Just as a thought, since Willard is a corporate raider and made his money in business, he will have to select a VP to run with. I nominate Bernie Madoff to fill the position. Willard and Bernie perfect together......
No Wolf ,
The next 10 years will be ugly if Mitt Romney is elected !
Corporate Oligarch 2012 ?
The next ten days? Where have you been?
Though he will try to grease his way, Romney will not prevail in the Republican south.
When Romney ran for Governor of Mass he promised to go to every state in the union to bring jobs to MA. How many states did he visit and how many new jobs did MA gain while he was governor. There is all this discussion about Bain but nobody is discussing how Mass ranked 47th in job growth when Romney was governor.
If the Republicans are sincere about booting President Obama from office they have to get united behind ONE person and get the talking points from the same page in the Playbook now. Currently they are looking wildly disorganized. The American electorate wants and needs answers to the problems we are facing. They don't want – and deeply fear – electing a President that doesn't have even the full support of his/her own party.
Yes, but they can't get behind one candidate that will lose in a landslide to President Obama, namely, Mitt Romney. He is the posted boy for 1percent and that kind of person will never win a general election.
Mittens will be an easy target for Obama. Not even close on the battle of wits. Romney should tac his money and PAC and do something different.
I like Romney but can't vote for anyone who wants to get rid of the EPA, which is ALL of the Republicans running for office. Fools all! How could anyone want to get rid of the one thing that is protecting us from the corporate greed that is destroying this planet in this very scary year without a Winter? They will all just tell you global warming is junk science, scary winterless years and all, just like thier pupperteers told them to.
Too bad, I'm not particularly happy with President O and was planning to vote on the R side of the fence, but there is not one of them out there not wearing the Koch puppet strings. Sigh. Will a non crazy Republican candidate with foresight, common sense and an actual backbone please stand up??? – Dead silence...
I believe their plan is to run Mitt and then not turn out to vote for him, and blame Obama some more while crying over the plight of the super-rich.
Newt is only 7 points down and has $5 million to spend in SC, so he will likely win SC, then onto Florida, where he has the momentum to win. Newt will crush Obama. Romney will lose like the other RINO we nominated 4 years ago, McCain.
Newt has a shady past but he does have middle class values. Romney does not.
Super Pac, Special Interest, Lobbyist. The voice of the middle class is not heard by the GOP. It gets shouted down by big money and corporate interest. Any working class person that votes Republican should have their head examined.
It's been ugly for months forget the next ten days......
Without corp. money these clowns would have been home doing whatever it is they do....
This whole process is akin to the root canal that would never end.....
What does not kill you makes you stronger. Go Mitt Go.
You forgot to complet the sentence. Go AWAY, Mitt Go AWAY!!
I can complete that sentence with one word...."away".
Give it up Mittens, you don't have a chance. Go back to destroying American jobs and peoples lives like you used to.
Hope Mitt will learn the truth about VAWA law and will fix that very unkonstitutional law. Last time he, softly put it, "blanked out" when was asked about that law. Hope he will fix the Divorce Industry and will not let it take over people lives.
That's just silly.
Why on earth would anyone vote for Romney unless they have been hypnotized?
Although all the GOP candidates are lunatics, Romney stands out. He believes God lives on a planet called Kolob from where he rules earth. If Mitt behaves in this life he thinks he gets a planet to rule over himself.
I refuse to vote for a person who is determined to buy the election. That sounds like a dictator to me.
Do you mean Obama?
Glad to see you're not voting for Obama.
Romney wants to run over others with his money as he has always done.
In SC Obama supporters came together. Ron Paul has the potential to take it, because he represents the view that REAL CHANGE IS NEEDED!!! We cannot get it voting for any of the Republicans or President Obama. South Carolineans want their rights back.
What rights have they lost ?
Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum need to stop the bitterness, they are all looking pretty ugly now as losers. Instead they should be standing behind the front runner of the GOP and let's get this election moving on the winners side of Mitt Romney, and make the Republicans strong to win this election!
Except that Romney is a sure loser to Obama in the general election.
Bring on the politics of personal destruction, it's the Republican way. Since they would rather not mention more tax cuts for the rich, privatizing social security and Medicare, outsourcing more jobs to China, India and Mexico, reducing aid to education and dependent children, etc., they really have nothing to offer. So, since they have nothing positive to offer, the idea is to eliminate their opposition. What a sham.
Romney: More of the same. Sigh, my fellow Americans– you disappoint me.
Really? Wouldn't "more of the same" be skyrocketing national Debt, unemployment, loss of respect on the global stage, nuclear weapons in hostile lands, disregard for democratic processes, holiday appointments, ridiculous tax codes, unsustainable tax increases, etc... While Romney is not my choice, the mantra of "anybody but Obama" sure offers food for thought.
yes the same thing we had before Obama, which is the same thing we got with Obama and the same thing we will have next year if we dont elect RP.
Ron, are you talking about Obama or Dubyah?
But Ron, we're now in 2012. The abuses you brought up were all comitted by the previous administration, the one that left office in disgrace in 2009. These were the folks who started a couple of wars and put them on the national credit card, made dozens of recess appointments (including the one for UN Ambassador), alienated friend and foe and shredded every one of the Bill of Rights except for the 2nd amendment. Fortunately, we elected a president a couple of years ago who is trying to undo the damage, although he has been slowed down by the same people who got us into the mess.
Ron, I can promise you if we want more of the same with unfunded wars, massive unemployment, Loss of respect worldwide, etc. etc. etc., we will be sure to put a republican in office.
But since that's no longer what we want, we will be sure to put President Obama in for another four years.
If we want more of the same of what you post, we will be sure to put in a republican. But since we no longer want that, we'll be sure to give President Obama four more years.
**** Really? Wouldn't "more of the same" be skyrocketing national Debt, unemployment, loss of respect on the global stage, nuclear weapons in hostile lands, disregard for democratic processes, holiday appointments, ridiculous tax codes, unsustainable tax increases, etc........
Republicans guilty of all the above.
You forgot unfunded wars.
Dont throw poop into the wind, it might hit ya in the face.
nuclear weapons in hostile lands – You mean Iran ?
This sat on Bush's desk for eight years and he did nothing,
but now its Obamas fault ?
You Repubs shure do have selective memory.
Really? Wouldn't "more of the same" be
skyrocketing national Debt (Thank you George Bush)
unemployment (Started under George Bush, currently being fixed By President Obama)
loss of respect on the global stage (Yup, the whole world just loved that Texas cowboy)
nuclear weapons in hostile lands (did Bush do anything about North Korea or Iran ? Nope)
disregard for democratic processes (Patriot act, torture, no bid contracts...)
holiday appointments (every sitting US president has done this)
ridiculous tax codes (good under Bush/bad under Obama ?)
unsustainable tax increases (On the middle class, thank you Bush)
Its true what they say about Republicans.
You only see what you want to see.
The race won't ever be as ugly as the candidates themselves! Not physically, mind you, I am speaking of the ugliness that each of them harbors in their black hearts! I cringe every time I hear the masses cheering for Romney, or Paul, or Gingrich...these are REALLY the people who we want leading this great nation? What REALLY amazes me are all of the middle class and lower class people who vote Republican at all! Don't these people realize that the "American Dream" is just that as long as the GOP has their way? The GOP's biggest win in this election cycle has been fooling average Americans into thinking that they too have a chance of being one of the "1%"...when in fact, they have been doing everything possible to ELIMINATE the middle class! I shudder to think what this country will become if one of these idiots does manage to win next November! Heaven help us all if that happens!
this is a very true statement. if romney could beat the field in south carolina, he would have momentum for florida. that would truly be a launching pad.
It's all ugly...beginning with the billion dollars needed to run a presidential race to completion.
Very true Richard.
"If a solid and single non-Romney candidate would emerge to face him one-on-one, who knows what would happen?" Huntsman is the only Republican out of the field I would vote for rather than Obama. The rest including Romney are nothing but mouth breathing knuckle dragging pseudo-intellectuals not worthy of the office of president.
The GOP's only chance of gathering the support of the moderate democrats is Huntsman.
Romney, by November, will have been correctly painted as the most corporate, wall street, big business friendly candidate in modern times, and this isn't the time nor place to put someone like this up as your candidate. I think we've mostly seen the classic "vocal minority" scenario from the right these last few years, but in actuality the country has moved farther to the left during the same time. Romney's plans will mirror those of George Bush's, and Obama should be able to convince people that the progress we've made will be turned right around if we revert back to that era.
"but in actuality the country has moved farther to the left " America is solidly moderate; we elect people with agenda when we agree with the agenda, not because we agree with their views. A left-wing government doesn't make the people turn left, and a right-wing govt doesn't turn them right; they remain themselves and control the government by votes and public forums. I don't care if my plumber is a Commie pinko as long as he fixes my sink, and same goes for my president. Just fix the economy and get gas prices back down and keep the country running; I don't care if you listen to Hank jr or Lady Gaga on your own time.
Perhaps the GOP will destroy itself and our problems as a nation will be over. Romney certainly looks like he is in love with himself - do you think that is what America needs?
If Mitt is the nominee, the Tea Party will almost certainly nominate an evangelical Christian to oppose his Mormon Takeover. The TP has thirty percent of the GOP's votes, so this would amount to a split in two for the GOP. They could reasonably expect to elect mayors and governors and a few congressmen, but they'd never have the votes to win the White House again.
They all deserve each other.
hey republicans, it's over, romney won, okay, get the picture. you can either back him or fight him but if you fight you are only giving obama a second term. So make your decision because you know i'm right. Romney is the republican presidential candidate for 2012/13, all the others came second. It s not about the money, you've got heaps, it simply a fact that none of you are 100% presidential material and you know it, so give it up, bite the bullet, conceed, be humble and stand behind your man.
Romney can't win the general election. He is the poster boy for the wealthy elite. Americans don't want someone like that in the White House.
Nah, fight him! We need Gingrich to rough him up a little at least - we don't even know if the man bleeds!
You're kidding. The past few months have been ugly enough! The candidates have trashed their own party in the process of running each other down.
I don't know if Romney can win SC. I doubt it, unless it is sufficiently splintered, as suggested. But then he goes on to Florida, where I believe he can win. After that, you'll see a number of candidates drop out. It will probably come down to Romney, Paul and whoever the right-wing Christian conservatives and Tea-Partiers settle on. In the end, though, I think he nails it down. By Super Tuesday, there probably won't be a lot of choice left and little doubt about the outcome.
"Now I guess you know what I mean about the lame (Ginrich) get eaten first! He finished fifth? ast night?"
Actually, I think that the true test will be Florida and not South Carolina. South Carolina's job will be to get rid of 3 out of the 4 non-Romney, non-Paul candidates such that it will be one-on-one in Florida. This is because Ron Paul isn't playing in Florida so it will be the first time Romney will have an undivided anybody-but-Romney vote against him.
If there is more than 1 of the 4 not-Romney and not-Paul candidates (Huntsman, Gingrich, Santorum, Perry) left after South Carolina, then Romney can thank whomever is lingering for the nomination.
It will be ugly becasue of two people – Perry who should not even be in this rave and who is disgusting and Gingrich who is acting like a crybaby and only wants to hurt romney even if it hurts the GOP. The ads against Gingrich in Iowa were tough BUT they were ALL TRUE. Gingrich provided all the content with his horrible baggae
While it gets ugly watch for the entire GOP in DC and outside DC to move away from Gingrich and Perry - and both Newt and Perry will harm their political reputations forever -CRYBABY Newt and the idiot Perry who is only in SCZ becasue (1) he wants to save face before leaving the race after SC; and (2) before he leaves he wants to spend the $3 million he has in the bank
This man should not be president. Neither he or his sons have served in the military, but I'm willing to bet he'll send our children off to war with no hesitation.
He said with a sneer that his boys were protecting America in a way more important than being mere soldiers; they were working for their dad's campaign. How patriotic can they get, eh?
Wolf, we here in S.C. are accustomed to hearing of all the lies and dirty tricks that come to town with each national Republican campaign. Remember what the Bush campaign did to McCain in 2000? We are the birth state of the brains behind who taught them all the most dirty, get down in the gutter political campaigns ever waged. We expect the same type campaign twice this year, now and in the fall election. The never ending robo calls started last week and will continue until this circus leaves and then returns in the Fall! The civil people of this state are not proud of this fact, but we are covered with their campaign dirt along with the parties initiating it.
With the South coming up, a unite and conquer scenario might work.
Don't worry Wolfie baby, Romney can stand the heat and will become the nominee, much to Obama's dismay. He's just getting the machine and organization started and primed and will win the nomination hands down. Why do you think the Obama drones are out attacking him non-stop? Problem is the American people have become immune to the Obama Lie Machine.
Who's attacking him? Obama supporters love Mitt. He's unelectable. *PLEASE* nominate him.
So your message to Romney is:::
Hey have your super pac fund your oponents' campaigns?...that way they all can stay and enjoy the show....
I'm thinking the Obama super pac may deserve some small credit in bringing this circus to town.
I was just listening to Dr. Gupta compare Romney's Healthcare Plan to Obama's. It is the same thing and it works. Romney is a fraud! I am voting Obama!
When asked about the difference between Romneys health care plan,
Romney said he didnt need to raise taxes to impliment his plan.
What he left out, was the fact this his plan was paid for by federal dollars.
American tax dollars used to fund Massachusetts health care.
So the plan was good for Mass, but bad for the rest of the country.
Obama's plan is only bad because a Democrat came up with it.
Ron Paul and/or Newt are the only answer to The smooth talking Romney.The rep. party will not make it without bachman/or Palin as running mate.The others are just like what we already have and they have almost ruined our country.GOD BLESS AMERICA. Jim Thomas Phx.Az.
Of course you're from Ph Arizona...we know your history quite well. Palin ??? Bachmann?? Really??? What is the color of the sky in your warped world?
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