THE BLOG
03/01/2012 10:47 am ET Updated May 01, 2012

Mitt Sweeps, But Viability Questions Persist

Mitt Romney desperately needed Michigan, and got the Wolverine State.

Perhaps Kid Rock's 11th hour performance was the lucky charm, and Romney should take the show on the road.

It wasn't the rout that was expected weeks ago, but for the relieved Romney a win is a win.

"We didn't win by a lot but we won by enough -- and that's all that counts," said Romney after Rick Santorum called to concede.

There will be perhaps a valid argument that the thin margin of victory, especially with Michigan's proportional 30 delegates being divided, will and should provide a lift to Rick Santorum.

"A month ago they didn't know who we are," Mr. Santorum said, before his supporters. "They do now."

"We came into the backyard of one my opponents in a race where people said 'You know, just ignore it, you're going to have no chance here,'" Santorum said at his primary night rally in Grand Rapids."But the people of Michigan looked into the hearts of the candidates and all I have to say is, 'I love you back.'"

OK. For Romney, let's observe this from the perspective of the "glass is half full, half empty scenario."

Let's start with the positive:

-- Much had been made about the fact that Romney was born in the state of Michigan where his father was a three-term governor. Romney's candidacy was on the line in Michigan had he lost.

-- Dare it be said, with this sweep of Michigan and Arizona, Romney is starting to look again like the clear front-runner, going into Super Tuesday with momentum.

-- Romney appears to be on a winning roll, and when you combine his money, organization, and now momentum, he may be too strong to stop. This one may be a stretch.

With the 'glass is half empty' picture:

-- With the slim Michigan victory, the party remains divided. Opponents will continue to argue Romney can't close the deal, especially with conservatives. The race will likely drag on for months, which the party is increasingly worried will sap energy and cash, damaging its chances for the White House in November.

-- Romney is the favorite to take at least four of the Super Tuesday states: Massachusetts, Vermont, Idaho, and Virginia. But the state to watch is Ohio. Santorum is well ahead in the polls in Ohio, and the demographics there suit Santorum better than Michigan.

Romney appears reinvigorated, but it was also a tough week. He seems to make a habit of sabotaging his own campaign.

-- Romney still suffers from foot-in-mouth disease. In the last few days, Romney yet again drew unwanted attention to his wealth, declaring that his wife owned two Cadillacs and his response that he was not a big fan of Nascar, but was friends with Nascar team owners. Democrats have already jumped on these two gaffes portraying him as out of touch.

"I am who I am." Romney told reporters Tuesday, and said he would not "light my hair on fire" to win over skeptical conservatives in the Republican Party.

"It's very easy to excite the base with incendiary comments," he went on.

"We've seen throughout the campaign that if you're willing to say really outrageous things that are accusatory and attacking President Obama that you're going to jump up in the polls." Romney said.

Romney attributed Santorum's late rise in the polls to his recent "incendiary comments" about President Obama.

Santorum has pledged to carry the conservative fight against Mr. Romney directly to Ohio and other Super Tuesday states that weigh in on the race next week.

Romney also told supporters Tuesday night "a week ago, pundits and pollsters were ready to count us out." Well at least he put that to rest.

Hey, if you were in the race, wouldn't you rather be in Romney's shoes -- wouldn't you feel more viable -- rather than being in the shoes of Santorum, Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul?

Subscribe to the Politics email.
How will Trump’s administration impact you?