South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint all but called for Mitt Romney’s GOP opponents to drop out of the race today, according to Alex Burns and Jon Allen of Politico.
“We all need to look at this presidential primary and encourage the candidates to do a little self-reflection here on what’s good for our country,” the influential South Carolina conservative told reporters in the Capitol after attending a group meeting with Romney. “The sooner we can make a decision, the sooner we can focus on the real problem, which is Obama.”
Asked if he was making a diplomatic case for former Sen. Rick Santorum and former Speaker Newt Gingrich to drop out, DeMint said “You can take from that what you will.”
“There’s no need to drag this to a convention if it’s pretty clear who our nominee is,” DeMint said.
DeMint also said he has “always been impressed” with Romney. “There’s a lot to like there.”
Meanwhile, BuzzFeed’s Zeke Miller reports that the Obama campaign almost relishes the prospect of facing Romney in the fall:
They are afraid of everything from a spike in gas prices to the possibility of war with Iran; from unemployment to the Supreme Court’s striking down the health care law. But one thing Barack Obama’s expensive war machine isn’t afraid of right now is Mitt Romney. …
“The things that I worry about are all the outside money,” Burton said. “Mechanics wise — the things that our out of our control —I think there are real issues for Democrats,” Burton said. “But from an issues perspective, we’re ready to go on offense.”
“There is nothing about Mitt Romney himself [that scares me],” Burton added, “it’s the resources that are at his disposal.” (Burton’s Super PAC recently received the explicit backing of the Obama campaign to raise money to counter Republican independent expenditure groups.)
Another veteran Democratic operative compared Romney to his predecessors as governor of Massachusetts, Mike Dukakis, who beat what many saw as a weak field for the nomination.
“This is their year of the seven dwarfs,” Trippi said. “He’s just the tallest dwarf.”
In a way, though, the Obama campaign’s disdain for Romney points the way for the former Massachusetts governor — or any GOP candidate — to be victorious. Obama is right to be afraid of the issues — and, in the end, the election will be about him and his failed policies. At this point, it doesn’t matter so much who the GOP nominee is as that he not let Obama off the hook.