Romney camp tells rivals: You can't catch him

Wed Mar 7, 2012 2:32pm EST
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By Sam Youngman

BOSTON (Reuters) - Mitt Romney's campaign told his Republican presidential rivals on Wednesday they could not catch him and nudged them to quit the race even though he failed to deliver a knockout blow in the biggest round of nominating contests.

Romney won six of the 10 "Super Tuesday" states, including a narrow victory in Ohio's marquee match-up, expanding his lead in delegates and solidifying his frontrunner status in the race to find the Republican challenger to President Barack Obama in the November 6 election.

But rival Rick Santorum won three states and Newt Gingrich captured one, keeping their hopes alive and raising the chance the divisive Republican fight could drag on for months. Both vowed they are in the race for the long haul.

Romney's wins on Tuesday gave him more than 400 delegates, according to many media counts, more than doubling Santorum's second-place total and moving him closer to the 1,144 needed to clinch the nomination at the party's August convention.

With few big voting days left in the Republican race, Romney's campaign advisers briefed reporters and issued a memo to argue that his rivals were fighting "basic principles of math" and had little chance to reshape the campaign given rules that award delegates proportionally in most of the remaining states.

"Super Tuesday dramatically reduced the likelihood that any of Governor Romney's opponents can obtain the Republican nomination," Romney adviser Rich Beeson said in a memo to reporters.

"As Governor Romney's opponents attempt to ignore the basic principles of math, the only person's odds of winning they are increasing are President Obama's," he said.

Santorum's campaign said Romney wanted the former Pennsylvania senator out of the race so he could move to the political center and abandon the conservatives who still distrust him for his past moderate positions on issues including abortion and healthcare.   Continued...

Mitt Romney waves to supporters along with his wife Ann at his "Super Tuesday" primary election night rally in Boston, Massachusetts, March 6, 2012. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi