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Mitt Romney Adviser Says GOP Nomination Is An 'Impossibility' For Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich

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BOSTON -- Mitt Romney's campaign puffed out its chest Wednesday and said, without equivocation, that their candidate will win the Republican primary.

"We are going to be the Republican nominee," a top Romney adviser said.

The Romney adviser was not confident enough in the prediction, however, to put his name behind it. A handful of senior campaign officials held a briefing for reporters here at the campaign's headquarters in Boston's North End, where they focused on Romney's lead in delegates over Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. Romney has 430 delegates to Santorum's 185 and Gingrich's 106, by the Romney campaign's count.

The magic number to clinch the nomination is 1,144 delegates. Romney's campaign intentionally focused on the math portion of the primary one day after former Sen. Santorum (R-Pa.) scored victories in Oklahoma, Tennessee and North Dakota, and nearly knocked Romney off in Ohio.

"The nomination is an impossibility for Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich," a top aide said in the briefing, which was held on the condition that campaign officials who spoke not be identified.

The Romney officials said that Romney only needs to win 48 percent of the remaining delegates, while he has won 53 percent so far, and that Santorum would have to win 65 percent of the delegates outstanding, but has won only 22 percent to this point.

Former House Speaker Gingrich (R-Ga.) would need to win 70 percent and has won only 13 percent to this date, according to the Romney campaign's count.

"All we have to do is just keep doing what we're doing, we can get to get to the nomination," the Romney adviser said. "Those guys, it's going to take some sort of act of God to get to where they need to be."

An estimate of the delegate count by the Associated Press, including bound and unbound delegates, has Romney with 415 delegates to Santorum's 176, Gingrich's 105, and Rep. Ron Paul's (R-Texas) 47. Paul was not listed on a memo distributed by the Romney campaign to the national press.

But unbound delegates have the ability to shift allegiance at state conventions that send delegates to the national convention in Tampa, Fla., this August, and so predictions of who unbound delegates will end up supporting are just that. The AP's count of only bound delegates -- excluding unbound delegates -- has Romney with 212 delegates, Santorum with 84, Gingrich with 72 and Paul with 22.

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