MOLINE, Ill. — With the Republican nominating fight turning into a protracted slog for delegates that could potentially last all the way to the convention, Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, made an appeal on Sunday morning to a coveted group of swing voters in an effort to win the Illinois primary: women.That wouldn't be my advice to Romney.
“I love it that women are upset, too, that women are talking about the economy, I love that,” Mrs. Romney said at a pancake breakfast here. “Women are talking about jobs, women are talking about deficit spending. Thank you, women.”
The Romney campaign is seeking to repair the political damage with women voters that advisers acknowledge has been inflicted by the Republican nominating fight.
In February, women were evenly divided between Mr. Romney and his chief rival, Rick Santorum. But in the most recent New York Times/CBS News national poll, among Republican primary voters, 41 percent of women backed Mr. Santorum and 27 percent favored Mr. Romney.
Mr. Romney is often introduced by his wife at political events, but her role has taken on greater meaning as the campaign looks ahead to independent voters, particularly women, who polls show have been put off by the candidates’ rightward shift on immigration and social issues.
“I’m glad that he’s married, and has been married to the same person for a long time and has children,” said Dawn Parker, 51, a secretary from Freeport, Ill. “As a woman, I like that. I like that he’s a family man, a father and a grandfather.”
Still, Ms. Parker said that she had not yet made up her mind for the primary on Tuesday, but that Mr. Romney was “a possibility.”
While women are hardly monolithic in their politics, the Romney campaign is urgently trying to shift the conversation back to the economy from more divisive social issues.
It's the left's meme that social issues are "divisive." Why let the left control the narrative? The left is destroying the social fabric of the nation and Romney --- as a family man --- should be well positioned to campaign on those issues. Perhaps it's because his record's indeed so weak on social issues --- with so many flip-flops --- that it's simply the safest thing he can do to avoid them completely.
Either way, Santorum, speaking with CBS News, hammered Romney for his moderation:
The former Pennsylvania senator, who is known for his strongly held social conservative beliefs, said he is the best messenger for Republicans.That theory will get its biggest test this November if Romney is nominated. Democrats will already be safe on ObamaCare with a Romney candidacy, and now the former Massachusetts Governor is surrendering on social issues. And I hate to say, it, but Romney's even conceded the economy to Obama, so what's he going to have to campaign on?
"When we nominate moderates, when we nominate Tweedledum versus Tweedledee, we don't win elections. We win elections when there are clear contrasts and bold choices and that is what we are going to do in this election," Santorum said.
"And that is why we believe that ultimately we will be the nominee," he said.
No spark for Romney? Well, you don't say.