Romney and his advisers showed dexterity, smarts and toughness in retooling his campaign within hours of his stinging loss in South Carolina on Jan. 21. Romney followed the revised roadmap to a tee.
He shredded Newt Gingrich in Florida’s two debates, leaving the former House speaker fuming and flailing in the campaign’s closing days. He summoned a host of prominent Republicans to denounce Gingrich. And he regained his image as the person best positioned to take on President Barack Obama this fall.
There is still plenty of time for things to go wrong for Romney. Gingrich might resuscitate his campaign, as he did after his Iowa collapse, although GOP insiders say the odds are not good.
If Romney does become the nominee, his highly negative campaign tactics may hurt him among independent voters. And Obama might do a much better job of hitting Romney’s record at Bain Capital and his switches on key policies over the years.
But the smug comments by some Democrats who said Romney is soft, untested and unable to take a punch have been obliterated.