Mitt Romney had a gangbuster day yesterday. He raised a lot of money. His top-notch staff handled the press beautifully. We can expect a series of announcements in the next couple of days about people he has signed up to maintain the momentum. Senator Jim DeMint, it seems the last non-McCain Republican in South Carolina, endorsed Romney yesterday/today. Romney now has several objectives:
- He has to convince Rudy Giuliani to stay out. Rudy covers McCain’s left flank, keeping McCain from being "the moderate", and polls indicate that he actually takes votes from Romney. Romney’s $6.5m pull was a statement to Rudy that he needs to start doing better than $800k in his hometown.
- He has to convince the 2nd tier candidates, who Caucus Cooler calls the "Credible Conservative Alternatives", that there is no getting through him. Earlier, I discussed that Romney is getting hammered from the right , nearly daily from Brownback, so much because that’s where the 2nd tier candidates are getting their votes.
- He has to convince donors and party leaders that John McCain hasn’t locked this up. If I were Romney, I would be announcing high-profile people in each of the early states and more congressional announcements.
Probably, the next big event in the Presidential schedule will be the RNC Winter Meeting in DC the 17-20. The next real test will be how Romney performs at that meeting, in the one-on-ones, and what he does about the momentum that McCain has generated in that group.
A number of people are saying that Romney’s flip–flopping will kill him. As I have argued, that’s just not true. It will hurt him, but the amount of money that this guy will be able to raise makes him a juggernaut. The question will be how he does with voters. It will be interesting.