It's 'Mitt's moment' after Christie declines to run

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 5 2011 11:12 a.m. MDT

Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets supporters at a town hall meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011, in The Villages, Fla.

Associated Press

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Politico is calling it "Mitt Romney's moment."

On Tuesday, one of Romney's biggest potential threats to winning the GOP nomination, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, announced that he's not running for president in 2012.

Additionally, a new Washington Post/ABC News poll revealed that the former Bay State governor is leading his chief rival, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, by nine points (25 percent to 16 percent).

Florida polls out earlier last week showed Romney leading the field in the critical early primary state. Public Policy Polling had Romney (30 percent) ahead of the Southern-state favorite Rick Perry by 6 percent.

Of course, with Romney's success comes new pressure.

"He's now under intense pressure to consolidate the Republican establishment behind his candidacy and build up the coveted and self-reinforcing sense of inevitability his candidacy has lacked to date," wrote Politico commentators Jonathan Martin, Maggie Haberman, and Ben Smith on Tuesday, adding that "there were some signs in the hours after Christie's decision that the movement to Romney had begun."

Indeed, even before Christie decided against a run, New York Times' David Brooks came out "in defense of Romney."

"Romney can be dull. Political activists like exciting candidates," Brooks wrote in his column. "… It's exciting to have charismatic leaders. But often the best leaders in business, in government and in life are not glittering saviors. They are professionals you hire to get a job done. The strongest case for Romney is that he's nobody's idea of a savior."

Yet, Brooks is just one of many to start gravitating toward Romney.

"A lot of us who normally would have been in this presidential race a long time ago, have been waiting for Christie to make a decision," said Georgette Mosbacher, a big-time Republican fundraiser and the finance co-chair of the Republican National Committee who is now getting behind Romney, according to an article in Capital New York.

Mosbacher joins New York's big money grocer and real estate tycoon John Catsimatidis in joining Romney.

Perhaps more impressive than pulling in Mosbacher and Catsimatidis is Romney's ability to pull in Jamie Dimon, the CEO and chairman of JPMorgan Chase, who according to Politico, used to admire Obama but recently attended a Romney fundraiser.

All this lends credence to the idea that "Romney will now have a fresh opportunity to consolidate support among established Republicans who have been keeping their options open," according to Dan Balz's article in The Washington Post. "The former Massachusetts governor also will have a freer hand to go after some major fundraisers who have stayed on the sidelines looking for a seemingly more appealing candidate to come into the race."

Of course, with a war chest that could, by some reports, total more than $15 million, Texas Gov. Rick Perry isn't going anywhere.

As Rep. Tom Cole R-Okla. told Politico, "I could see Perry-Romney stretching out over several months."

EMAIL: hboyd@desnews.com

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