“In a sign of his growing confidence that a victory may be at hand, Romney plans to spend caucus night in Iowa

“‘He’s probably the best chance to beat Obama,’ said Carol Hetzler, a medical secretary who backed Sen. John McCain’s in 2008. She had also considered voting for Gingrich…

“‘He made the argument that the candidate who has shown the ability to win by the effectiveness of the campaign he’s run is Mitt Romney,’ said Grubbs, who worked on Dole’s 1996 campaign. ‘At the end of the day, he was selling electability.'”

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“‘That is becoming more likely,’ said the loyalist when asked if Romney could win the caucuses outright. ‘We’ve been lucky and good. The campaign plan was always to adjust activity based on what we were seeing on ground but keep expectations down. But between the positive news for us of late and negatives for our rivals, we’re finishing in a good place.’…

“Former Iowa House Speaker Chris Rants, a 2007 Romney backer who recently pledged support to him this time as well, said the role Iowa typically plays is to winnow the field — and that those who will get cut first are likely to be Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich.

“‘So if Mitt finishes first or second,’ he added, ‘does it really matter?’

“‘If you have enough regular Republican caucus-goers show up, I don’t think he wins it,’ he said. ‘Either way, if you’re Romney, you come out with somebody weak — a crazy-ass Ron Paul or an imploding Newt. He’ll be in a commanding position. These are a big couple of days for Mitt [before the caucuses]. He still has to land the 747. But things are lining up for him there.'”

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“‘The only reason I’m supporting Romney is because he can win the election,’ said Tim McCleary, 52, a mobile home park owner who said he came around to Romney in the past few days after watching last week’s debate. ‘The sad reality is I’m a fairly conservative person, but you have to send them out east.’

“Pat Sheets, 69, a retired school principal, joined McCleary and scores of other area Republicans in lining up before dawn at the coffee shop to see Romney.

“‘He’s one of my top two – him and Newt,’ Sheets said, referring to former House speaker Newt Gingrich. ‘We aren’t sure if Newt can win….I think Romney is the person most likely to beat Obama – and, in my opinion, that’s the top objective. Newt has a lot of baggage. I like what Newt says, but I don’t want to waste my vote on somebody who can’t actually win.'”

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“Many grassroots Republicans I speak to (as well as most of the commentators I see/read) don’t seem to realize that a presidential general election is much more like a poker game where most of the cards have already been dealt, than like a football game where the opening kickoff has yet to happen.

“We already know that, barring events almost impossible to conceive, all of the ‘Not-Romneys’ will get beaten, perhaps badly, by Obama. The narratives have already been written, minus the minor details and the final score.

“Newt can’t suddenly unload his massive baggage, Paul can’t change the fact that he isn’t at least a bit nuts, Perry can’t delete his ‘Oops’ moment and the parallels to Bush 43, Bachmann can’t get rid of her ‘crazy eyes’ or her gender, Huntsman can’t pretend he doesn’t despise the base, and Santorum can’t erase his statements on gays from Google or suddenly find some gravitas.

“Anyone who doesn’t accept the doomed reality of the ‘Not Romneys’ is simply either ignorant of the modern realities of presidential politics or just delusional.

“Romney might lose too, but at least the conclusion is not yet written in stone.”

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“Only Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney aren’t trying to sneak through amnesty for illegal aliens. Both support E-Verify.

“Numbers USA, one of the leading groups opposed to our current insane immigration policies, gives Republican presidential candidates the following grades on immigration: Paul, F; Gingrich, D-minus; Huntsman, D-minus; Santorum, D-minus; Perry, D; Romney, C-minus; and Bachmann, B-minus…

“That leaves us with Romney and Bachmann as the candidates with the strongest, most conservative positions on illegal immigration. As wonderful as Michele Bachmann is, 2012 isn’t the year to be trying to make a congresswoman the first woman president.

“Two Little Indians sitting in the sun; one was just a congresswoman and then there was one.”

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“It is time for Republicans to get serious. After flirting with just about every candidate in a large presidential field, is is time to come home to the one candidate who has the demonstrated ability to run the largest organization in the United States, the Executive Branch of the federal government; who has never been touched by the slightest taint of scandal; whose success in the private sector makes him the outsider that Republicans say they are looking for; and who has by far the best chance of beating President Obama: Mitt Romney.”

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