Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s dismal defeats in Tuesday’s primary/caucus contests show that he must step up his game, Republicans in Congress tell Politico
They’re particularly concerned that he can’t fire up the party’s conservative base. And some of the congressmen criticizing Romney aren’t ones who usually get involved in party squabbling.
Tuesday’s results are a “signal,” said Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., a 2008 Romney supporter and a conservative leader within the party. “Playing it safe, which Romney tends to do, is not going to get it for him,” DeMint told Politico.
Another GOP heavyweight, Senate Whip Jon Kyl, told the news service Romney “absolutely” must draw more support from grass-roots Republicans like the ones who voted against him in Minnesota, Missouri, and Colorado. “There is not exactly Romney-mania right now,” Kyl said.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who benefited from strong tea party support to defeat veteran Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold in 2008, is upset too. Conservatives feel “we’re losing this country” and want “a strong messenger carrying a strong message,” he told Politico. “Gov. Romney should probably be a little concerned.”
Johnson said Tuesday’s results “definitely confirmed that” Romney has plenty of work to do to win over the party’s base.
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