Mitt Romney faces an uphill struggle over the next few weeks as the Republican primary calendar turns against him, conservative commentator S.E. Cupp tells Newsmax.TV.
Upcoming states such as Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana are far from fertile ground for the GOP front-runner, Cupp said.
“He’ll be lucky to come in second in any of these states and he probably won’t win any of them,” she said in the exclusive interview with Newsmax. “So it’s going to be hard for the next few weeks for Mitt Romney to maintain any momentum he has coming out of Super Tuesday and brace himself for April when he can get into more friendly territory.
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“It’s not over for Mitt Romney by any means,” said Cupp, a Newsmax contributor. “He’s winning on the math, he’s winning the delegates — and that does matter. But when you look at the narrative — three weeks, four weeks, five weeks — that’s a long time to be fighting the narrative that you are not the inevitable chosen one, you are not the fan favorite.
“It is going to be tough on him to stay on message. He is going to be hammered by Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich on his healthcare mandate in Massachusetts and everything else and, as we have seen, when Mitt Romney gets on to the stump, he is not as disciplined as we’d like him to be.”
Cupp said that, when Romney initially looked at the primary calendar, he must have hoped he could have used his Super Tuesday speech in his home state of Massachusetts to declare final victory.
“Instead, he has to go forward a few weeks. It is April 24 that he gets into Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, states that are probably going to be more friendly to him. That’s a long time away, so Rick Santorum can certainly make the most of these next few weeks if he wants to.”
Several takeaways from Tuesday’s voting figures — “evangelical groups, real conservatives, blue-collar workers, Tennessee” — should disturb Romney’s campaign, Cupp said.
“The whole game for the past six months has been to figure out why Mitt Romney isn’t solidifying among conservatives and it’s deeper than just he’s too plastic, he’s too robotic.
“When it comes down to it, for all of the politicking we do around elections, voting is still a very personal, private, sacred experience and voters want to leave the voting booth feeling good about themselves, feeling like they didn’t just vote for a man but a cause — and they can’t identify the cause that Mitt Romney represents.
“He can’t just give us ‘I’m electable’ or ‘I’m a good businessman.’ It’s got to be deeper than that.”
There are several areas that Romney could have tapped to give himself an identity with voters, but he has failed to take advantage of them, Cupp said.
“He could have run on capitalism, and instead, he has had a really difficult time defending his own wealth and success. He could have run on limited government, but the Massachusetts healthcare mandate makes that a little bit of a tough sell. He could have run as the moral candidate, this is a guy with a skeletonless closet, but instead he has handed that over to Rick Santorum.
“There are plenty of opportunities for him to give voters a reason to believe in him beyond ‘I can beat Obama,’ and he hasn’t hit on that yet.”
Santorum now has proven he can be electable, said Cupp, while acknowledging that Romney still would have a better chance against the president in November.
“Any notion that Rick Santorum was completely unelectable has faded. He has proven not just in states like Minnesota and Missouri, but in Colorado, nearly in Michigan, Tennessee, almost in Ohio that he clearly is electable.
“Whether he can maintain discipline throughout the course of the rest of the primary and prove that he is electable in a general election, that’s up to him, but I know that some of the fears about his electability have faded since he has proven himself successful.”
The White House is probably “giddy” about the protracted Republican battle, Cupp said, adding that President Barack Obama has to worry about joblessness, gas prices and the economy as he prepares for the upcoming general election.
But she said she still worries that the GOP candidate could lose in November. “Republicans could absolutely botch this election,” she warned.
Editor’s note: See story and video — S.E. Cupp: Limbaugh Apology 'Sufficient' — Go Here Now.
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