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No Knockout Punch for Romney

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Even when Mitt Romney wins, it only opens another can of worms.

Romney grabbed easy Super Tuesday wins in his home state of Massachusetts and nearby Vermont, and put a huge score of delegates from his Virginia victory on his scorecard -- where neither Rick Santorum nor Newt Gingrich made the ballot. (We'll come back to Virginia for the negative in just a second.) Romney also received a win in Idaho, Alaska and the most contested prize of the night Ohio. He fought back in the Buckeye state and won after weeks of trailing Santorum.

However let's look at the flip side for Romney. Why does his wins have to be so ugly?

How come Romney can't win in the South? (Of course, other than Florida)

Romney is outspending his competitors in most cases 5-1, and yet he's barely winning. Why? Big spending that has trashed his opponents, lopsided spending battles, but they hasn't done anything to improve Romney's favorable ratings.

How in the world could the protest vote that went to Ron Paul in Virginia hit the high mark of 40 percent?

And on top of it all, why wasn't Romney able to do anything to close the deal?

Santorum won Tennessee, Oklahoma and North Dakota. Newt Gingrich was rewarded with a home state win in Georgia. In other words, Santorum and Gingrich live to fight another day. Something that clearly wasn't lost on Santorum. Just look at Santorum's latest fundraising pitch headlined: "We Won!"

"We are just starting this fight," the former Pennsylvania senator said.

Mr. Romney, on the other hand, assured supporters in Boston, "I'm going to get this nomination."

But what Romney could not answer is the million dollar question, when he will obtain the nomination. The reality is proving to be somewhat of a nightmare situation with the White House sitting back eating popcorn and enjoying the show from the sidelines. Of course, the political term is the White House is watching a circular firing squad.

The Republican presidential nomination contest will drag on and there is no end in sight, at least in the immediate future, and more importantly, Tuesday night denied Romney the claim of describing himself as the inevitable nominee.

Look at how the NY Times described Ohio in Wednesday's paper:

Mr. Romney was still poised to pull the most delegates out of Ohio because of Mr. Santorum's failure to get on the ballot in all of the state's Congressional districts. But the close outcome in a state where he had far outspent Mr. Santorum, as well as his defeats elsewhere, showed continuing vulnerabilities for Mr. Romney on both geographic and ideological grounds.

The biggest question of all is regarding 1,144. The 1,144 delegates needed to obtain the nomination, and the math is starting to not add up. Meaning Romney can come close to obtaining the necessary delegates, but may not reach it, continuing speculation of a possible brokered convention. Might there be a white knight to rescue the party?

"I'm not going to let you down," Mr. Romney told supporters gathered in his half-filled hotel ballroom. "I'm going to get this nomination."

Forget this race being over sooner rather than later. Mississippi and Alabama next week are not anticipated to go Romney's way, and that will add to his perception problem.

Romney probably will obtain the nomination, but at what cost? Will he be too wounded to take on the incumbent president?

Hey, let's not forget at least Romney pulled out Ohio; can you image his predicament if he had lost Ohio?

The more victories for Romney, the more it seems like he's stepping into quicksand and more questions regarding is he the one to unify the party and take on Obama in the fall.