Losing Michigan could commit Romney to long fight

By Thomas Beaumont

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Feb. 25 2012 1:32 a.m. MST

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, speaks at a town hall meeting in Kalamazoo, Mich., Friday, Feb. 24, 2012.

Gerald Herbert, Associated Press

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Losing the Michigan primary would strip the last of the varnish off the image that Mitt Romney is the inevitable GOP nominee for president. It would also commit him to the long march he says he is prepared to wage.

A Rick Santorum victory next week would be bad for Romney — a public-relations nightmare for a native son of Michigan. But political observers say it would mean little to the campaign that still has more money than any other and remains better organized to compete to the end.

Santorum has shot up in the polls in Michigan and even leads Romney in some.

Romney is employing a familiar strategy: attacking his opponent's credibility. He did just that in vanquishing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in Iowa and Florida.

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