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By Wolf Blitzer, CNN
(CNN) - Mitt Romney’s supporters are increasingly confident their man has the Republican presidential nomination all but wrapped up although they know he still has work to do.
Their confidence is underscored by what they want to discuss. Here are some examples:
Perhaps because of all the attention focused on the HBO film “Game Change” and John McCain’s 2008 selection of Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate, one insider suggested that it’s now already time for Romney to focus on candidates really qualified to take charge if necessary.
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman keeps coming up all the time. He’s a former director of the Office of Management and Budget and special trade representative under President George W. Bush. He has the added advantage of representing a potentially decisive battleground state. He’s popular there as well as among the Republican Party’s conservative base – an absolutely essential factor for Romney.
Another Romney supporter predicted that Newt Gingrich will have no choice but to drop out sooner rather than later because his campaign money will evaporate and the former House speaker will not want to go into personal debt. The pro-Gingrich super PAC, funded by Sheldon Adelson, certainly can continue generating millions of dollars to fund ads, but that money can’t be used for day-to-day campaign expenses.
So what about Rick Santorum? One Romney supporter says the former Pennsylvania senator eventually will see the handwriting on the wall, and will start to focus on 2016 – the way Ronald Reagan began focusing on 1980 after losing the Republican presidential nomination to Gerald Ford in 1976. Santorum, this person said to me, will look at Reagan’s playbook, especially if Romney were to lose to President Barack Obama in November.
These are some of the random thoughts from various Romney backers who believe their man will win the party’s nomination no matter what happens Tuesday in Alabama and Mississippi. But one final note: They acknowledge they might be indulging in some wishful thinking.
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