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BLITZER’S BLOG: GOP race will be a marathon, not a sprint
March 14th, 2012
04:08 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: GOP race will be a marathon, not a sprint

(CNN) - If it does come down to a two-man race for the Republican presidential nomination, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it continue until the party convention in Tampa at the end of August.

Getting to the major number of 1,144 delegates for either Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum before the convention will not be easy, even though the former Massachusetts governor has an impressive lead right now.

Romney has a lot more money than Santorum. He also has a better campaign organization. But Santorum is clearly preferred by many in the party’s conservative base. He seems to be a more effective retail campaigner as well.

I don’t know what Newt Gingrich is going to do in the coming days. He says he’s in the race until Tampa. But I suspect he won’t do very well in Puerto Rico on Sunday or in Illinois on Tuesday. Republican Party bigshots are already suggesting he should see the handwriting on the wall.

Ron Paul is way behind, still searching for his first win. He continues to energize his supporters and draws big crowds. But that has not translated into votes.

All this reminds me of the Barack Obama-Hillary Clinton race for the Democratic presidential nomination four years ago. That lasted until mid-June when Clinton conceded. The two of them quickly closed ranks. Despite a lot of bad blood among their supporters, they eventually came around to support the Democratic nominee wholeheartedly. There was no need for a contested Democratic Party convention.

So let’s see how this GOP contest plays out. I am pacing myself for a continued marathon rather than a sprint to the finish line.

Follow Wolf Blitzer on Twitter: @WolfBlitzerCNN

RELATED STORY: Romney team again points to math after more Santorum wins

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Filed under: 2012 election • Mitt Romney • Republicans • Rick Santorum • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Oliver El Paso, TX

    Wolf if it was not for you reporting trying to make it interesting, it be pretty boring. What gets me one Catholic and the other Mormon I don not think they learn anything in bible studs because both of them lia like hell.

    March 20, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  2. joshua

    Obama sprinted out with huge spending without any kind of reasonable budget. Now we see the failures of electing incompetent people to our highest office. I applaud the GOP for fully vetting all their candidates. I wish the Democrats had done the same thing in 2008. Maybe more people would have voted for Clinton instead of Obama and we wouldn't be sitting of 6 trillion dollars in additional debt. To recover from this mess we find ourselves will take several marathons.

    March 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  3. Scott Stodden

    Wolf I Love The Situation Room And I Watch You Everyday But I Honestly Don't Think America Will See A Brokered Republican Convention In Tampa This August Because For That To Happen Rick Santorum Would Have To Win Every Single State For The Rest Of The Primary Season And I Don't See That Happening! Mitt Romney Is Going To Be The Republican Nominee And He Could Very Well Be The Next President Of The United States If President Obama Doesn't Start Paying More Attention To Things Such As Gas Prices, The Suicide Shooter In Afghanistan, Etc.... If The Republican Party Is Smart Then They Will Realize Who The Leader And Face Of The Party Is And That Is Mitt Romney!!!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport, Illinois)

    March 15, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  4. eml

    Interesting that in March 2006 Blitzer and democrats rejoiced at Bush's low poll numbers (unemployment 4.7%). In March 2012 (unemployment well over 8%), democrats claim Obama's low poll numbers show clearly that the polls are broken and respondents (i.e. voters) are stupid. It is a novel tactic to call the people you need to vote for you "stupid."

    March 15, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  5. frag

    I don't think his analogy with the primary race between Obama and Hillary holds up. They were, and still are, both charismatic and popular politicians. Santorum lost his senate race in his home state by 17%! Gingrich is not popular and known for ethics violation and womanizing. Romney is not even popular with his own party, let alone Democrats. Ron Paul is only popular with Democrats. He would get more votes from us then from the Republicans because of his stand on war and drugs. So there you have it. Yes, the primary will go on until August, when the Republicans, sick and tired of the process and the candidates will show about as much enthusiasm as a 12 year old who is being forced to go to his aunt's birthday party.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:13 am |
  6. Virginia H Fry

    Hmm nuser
    If you are trying to impress all of us how you have reserched all this info – I am very impressed. I admire you for your knowledge. But I make a habit to look for the good in people. I feel good about my impression of Mitt Romney and I alway will. There is a lot of dirt to be researched for on almost anyone you want to research. That is not my concern. My concern is having a man like Mitt Romney who has the desire to wants this country back in order for all who live in the US. I have seen him in action with that kind of desire when it came to a challenge – Knowing he can do it. This man is a hard worker and deticated to his word.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  7. Virginia H Fry

    Um -JohnRJohnson
    Thank you for your comment – I have to admit - he is lost for words some times. But have you said something some times in your life – and wished you could have come up with a better thing to say when it came out wrong in front of family or the work place – Ya – its life – and it happens to the best of us. You say flip/flop Hm – When he was asked to help with the Olimpic here in Utah – I know he had no idea what to do – and he even said he would be willing to do what was needed to give Utah the best Olimpic ever. WOW! We, here in Utah were blessed with all that the Olimpics had to offer. Our roads for the freeway were not up to date at the time – Mitt Romney had about 7-8 years to be prepared for everything that was needed to make Utah look good. Well he did it. Never having to plan for an Olimpic before. I still am very proud of Mitt. This is a man who says I will give all my best to keep my word. And he keeps his word.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
  8. Mike

    I'd say Mitt has money to burn or he doesn't believe his "math" – I'm in Illinois (we vote next Tuesday) and I already received 2 robocalls from his organization and his SuperPAC today. No calls from the other guys but I'm guessing the ratio of calls per candidate will tell me how many times Mitt outspends the others this coming week.

    March 14, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  9. Doug Ericson.

    Thank you Rick Santorum for making a race out of this Republican Nomination 2012. You are now clearly the Not Mitt candidate Republican voters can turn too. I hope this doesn't continue to be a contest to see who can represent the Military Industrial complex and all the other big special interest groups. Its time to represent the people for real Rick, and since you have the bigger heart I hope you get the job. We want real change. No more War. No more pooled Mortgage Investment Scams. We want Wall Street out of our Houses and our Mortgages back on Main street where they belong. You have the strongest political chin ever Rick, and the greatest so whatly smile God ever created. I hope all that chutzpah doesn't go to waste. Doug, Pepperell, MA.

    March 14, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Mary Billings

      Oh, dear; If wishes were horses you'de have a herd. this man is not a peacemaker. His version of hope and change is not what the American people really want from the next President. Sorry, but that's the way I see it.

      March 15, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  10. G Peter

    Romney has only an outside shot at 1144 based on my math and I don't think Gingrich cuts a deal with Romney given the personal dislike there. So the race likely depends on whether Paul + Romney >= 1144 and what Ron Paul wants. Since he appears to care more about his agenda than personally becoming president so this might work out surprisingly well for him.

    March 14, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  11. Stuben

    "If it does come down to a two-man race for the Republican presidential nomination, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it continue until the party convention in Tampa at the end of August. " Way to go out on a limb there Wolf ... some really incisive stuff, so razor sharp, I think I might be able to cut butter with it.

    March 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  12. Mr. Izz

    Slow and steady wins the race. The only one doing that so far has been Mitt Romney. Unfortunately, the analogy Gingrich has been trying to use is better suited for his rival. Romney has been the tortoise. He's been solid this entire time. These other candidates have jumped from front runner, to last, to front runner, over and over as "hares" would do. Romney has been rolling along slowly and surely. Never way up, never way down, and always consistent.

    It is definitely a marathon. One that has seen candidates sprint into the lead, only to bow out weeks later. Romney's organization is his biggest asset; one that is unrivaled by his competitor's tactics.

    March 14, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  13. Jamie

    I wonder if Newt isn't just jockying for enough support from the far right to make himself Romney's VP.
    Moderate Romney has little support from dyed-in-the-wool conservatives and needs a VP who won't outshine him but will bring support to the team.
    Santorum can't win moderates (most of us) and wouldn't be content with VP status.

    March 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  14. JohnRJohnson

    Actually, Wolfie, I think it will be more like a 3-legged race, or a sack-race. It certainly a race to the bottom, since none of these candidates are fit to be President. I know it makes your job sound more exciting when you refer to these primaries as a race, like there's some kind of record at stake or that there will be an eventual winner. There are no winners in these primaries, Wolfie, and you know it. But, keep up the good work anyway, and call 'em as you see 'em. Or not. Nobody's watching.

    March 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  15. Mark Schoenberg

    Mitt Romney doesn't connect with his constituency because his statements are declarative, not response oriented. He doesn't pay attention to how individuals respond to his points. He speaks over the heads of the crowd, doesn't look people in the eye, just let's stuff lie there-without any apparent expectation of one on one response. This makes Governor Romney seem forced, aloof and/or standoffish. Which, by the way, is fixable. Any insightful acting teacher can show him how. Santorum and Obama have the gift, but improvement of 70% might have been out there for Mitt Romney. Although it might be too late now.

    March 14, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  16. WDinDallas

    Santorum/Gingrich 2012

    This will all be over when they pal up against Romney and after Santorum wins in Texas May 29th.

    March 14, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  17. Dave

    You're probably right Wolf. The liberal media has attacked Romney and so has Rush, Lavin, Ingraham and Humphreys. Sadly, Romney is the best candidate and polls best against Obama. Liberal bias and personal agendas are hurting the GOP.

    March 14, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Mary Billings

      You're kidding, right? The GOP is hurting itself. Come on now. lol

      March 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  18. Andrew Smith

    Gingrich is beginning to be viewed as someone who is simply unable to tolerate being out of the spotlight. Conservatives who have until now leaned his way will desert him in droves when they see that it is vanity driving his campaign. For better or worse, should Santorum prevail in Illinois and Louisiana (and Pennsylvania), which seems increasingly likely, he may push past the tiresome bore from Massachusetts/Michigan to the GOP nomination.

    March 14, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Jason

      i am a super conservative and have not left Gingrich. I think he is the only candidate with a solid plan to bring the country back. He has been studying it for years. Gingrich will be a strong leader from the first minute. He will have executive order drafted in advance cancelling many of Obama's policies that have killed any kind of economic comeback.

      March 14, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  19. Carl

    Ronald Reagan would not be conservative enough for Santorum and the religious nuts that are vying for control of the Republican party. And I foolishly thought the Tea Party was about fiscal responsibility.

    March 14, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • JohnRJohnson

      The Tea Party has never been about "fiscal responsibility". The Tea Party was initially funded in late 2006 by the Koch brothers, after Republicans lost control of Congress. The Koch's also started Americans for Prosperity. They couldn't care less about government spending or the size of government. The only thing they are interested in keeping government from regulating their business, which is primarily oil production. Their father, Fred Koch, was a founding member of the John Birch Society, which was virulently anti-government and anti-regulation. If they had their way, there would be no minimum wage or any worker protections in this country. Most certainly, collective bargaining would be outlawed. There may be a few members of the Tea Party who think its primary purpose is to reduce government spending, but they are being used by the Kochs and other fascist industrialists who would love to see this country turned into a plutocracy.

      March 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
      • Mary Billings

        Thank you for making the clear to anyone who can really pay close attention.

        March 15, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  20. Virginia H Fry

    Blitzer – It dawned on me that Mitt Romney is not a bragger. Oboma – Kept saying Change, Change, Change. which was impressive. I believe that Mitt Romney was raised to not brag – or lie – or do something he should not do if he felt he was wrong. He was raised to love his country, be a good person, help people, and to know that the lord is on his side if her lives right. He has lived right. He has a wonderful family, he has donated and help all the need people he can help with his donations with out bragging. He will not stand up and try to put someone down (I guess his campaine people try to do that) – if anything he will try to to help if he can. Mitt with in his heart he knows he can help our Country with out making like he is some movie actor trying to impress the people. I believe in him. He like everyone he comes in contact with. I say to the people believe in him – you don't want someone promising you like Oboma kept promising the people he would do good for this country -He has destroyed this country and can care less about out military people – he and his wife just want to take vacations and spend, spend like there is no end to the money. America have faith – you are looking at a person (Mitt Romney) who will work, work, work, hard everyday and night if need be to get our country back to were the people all have a job and the people in the streets – with out a home I know he cares deeply about. Thank you Virginia H Fry aka Hap – I live in Morgan Utah and I watch CNN all day and night if my husband wants another station thats OK I go in to the other room and turn CNN in there.

    March 14, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Clinton D Morrison

      Ronal Reagan actually spent almost a full year of his presidency 'on vacation' away from DC at his ranch. No Republican then said he just wanted "to take vacations and spend, spend like there is no end to the money" - even though he quadrupled the national debt while he was in office.

      These are tired arguments you are using, and you should check your facts before you blindly repeat what you hear on conservative talk radio.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • TomCom

      Obama did bring change. I will vote for him again this year. Romney is just another politician and a poor one at that.

      March 14, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • JohnRJohnson

      Uh, Virginia.... Mitt Romney is an Olympic-class flip-flopper and corporate raider who appears to have no convictions about any issue. This has made him look like a pathological liar throughout the primary process. On top of that, he seems to have chronic foot-in-mouth disease and is unable to relate to other human beings. Mr. Warmth he will never be. Other than that, everything you said about him is right on the money. 😉

      March 14, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
      • Christian

        saving our ecnoomy includes propping up the big banks and wallstreet as opposed to letting some of them fail, going through short term pain and instead, investing the money towards bringing back real jobs to USA from CHina India Bangladesh etc. fuck CHina india and bangledesh, fuck them, big crporations have ruined america, they have no alegiance to state, they are ghost entities like the big brokerages and finacnial firms who

        April 7, 2012 at 3:57 am |
    • nuser

      Please research Romney a little further. You should be able to google and follow up with you tube. Romney's flip flops
      and lies are immense. Unfortunately he depends on people who are not informed and does not follow politics to bolster
      his standing.I can not attest to his love of country (dubious in light of the stashing of money outside of America) , but to being a Corporate raider. If you take the time find out about the plans he has for this country , if any of them takes place, you will now live in a Banana Republic. Romney is the worst Liar of all time. Prove me wrong! You do know of his plans to
      make the rich much richer , by extending the Bush tax cuts. Take a good look at this man!

      March 14, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  21. manunitedftw

    Wolf – this would have been news before the Florida primary, but to declare that "the GOP nomination is a marathon" now is like saying that 2011 looks to be a tough year for jobs.

    March 14, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Doug Ericson.

      Mr. Blitzer has maintaned all along, and even before the Florida Primary, that this race wouldn't be decided early. You should never second guess a man who has his own Situation Room. Tsk tsk. Doug.

      March 15, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  22. Brian

    I think a brokered convention is still a very real possibility if Gingrich gets out (no idea how likely THAT is). In watching last night's coverage, and John King's touchscreen map, I honestly think he's overestimating the delegates Romney would get in a 1 on 1 matchup with Santorum. National polls for the last month or so have consistently shown Romney at about 35% support, Santorum around 30-31, and Gingrich between 20 and 25. Assuming the vast majority of Gingrich supporters would go to Santorum if he drops out (a solid assumption, I think), suddenly Santorum would have 50-55% to Romney's 35-40. If that scenario were to unfold (and yes, I know there are a LOT of "if"s in there), I don't see how Romney could possily break 1144 delegates before the convention. Plus, then there's the whole mess of the candidate with the most delegates actually being behind in the polls, and the conservatives will start screaming about the party establishment "stealing" the nomination.

    March 14, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • JohnRJohnson

      Sarah Palin is praying every night for a brokered convention.

      March 14, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  23. Carol

    I live in the DFW area. In the South, The Far Right Christian Evangelical vote is all about the fight against a Mormon. Although they want Obama OUT of the White House, they don't want Romney IN, because he is a Mormon. It is that simple. They will deny this, of course. It is especially difficult for me to live in the midst of them and understand it. Although this same prejudice against Catholicism existed years ago. They say they want separation of church and state, but religion is their focus. I will never understand it. When I asked a co-worker why he didn't think Newt Gingrich wasn't a contradiction, he said "We need Obama out." Newt, clearly had an affair for six years, while he was condemning Clinton. To me, it was dishonest; unchristian-like behavior. The far right does not see it this way. They only see what they want to see and in the process, become a contradiction to their own behavior and beliefs.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • jeff

      Well said. Hypocracy of touting religion, but acting in a different way!!

      March 14, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  24. chill

    Romney just doesn't get the point, or at least won't acknowledge it publicly, that his rivals do not need to get to 1144 to win. They just have to stop HIM from getting to 1144 or anythign real close to that. If he can't win on the first round of voting, his support will crumble in a heartbeat, and all sorts of efforts will be underway to draft a "savior". If it's really close, then he can probably draw some votes away from officially uncommited candidates to carry the day. But if not, then he's toast I think.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  25. Truth and Nothing But The Truth

    But how many more southern conservative states are left for Santorum versus Romney type states? I doubt Santorum if going to do well in too many more states. I'd say Romney's outcome still looks much better.

    Newt's personal jihad campaign has hurt himself, Santorum and the party. He's needs to drop out and simply go away. I used to like Newt but he's really gone too far over the line with his statements and attacks.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  26. geesam

    All the runners will stay in the race to until each loser sits in the Cabinet or a White House position.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:27 pm |

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