Jonathan Karl, ABC News, February 17, 2012:
A prominent Republican senator just told me that if Romney can’t win in Michigan, the Republican Party needs to go back to the drawing board and convince somebody new to get into the race.
“If Romney cannot win Michigan, we need a new candidate,” said the senator, who has not endorsed anyone and requested anonymity.
George Stephanopolous, ABC News, February 28, 2012:
“What [Romney’s performance] tonight has done, I think, is kill any talk in Republican circles of finding another white knight to come into the campaign.”
At least for the moment, that is. Losing his home state of Michigan would have been devastating for Romney. But as it is, he only barely won and Rick Santorum will take home the same number of delegates as Romney. To the extent that Romney has killed the talk of a new “white knight,” it is just barely and just for the moment. He certainly hasn’t suddenly created a popular groundswell in the Republican base for his candidacy. Super Tuesday is a week away and it will be a major test that could produce wins for Romney, Gingrich and Santorum. If Romney gets his clock cleaned next Tuesday, watch for the talk of the white knight to reemerge.