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      Paul, Gingrich And Santorum Refuse To Bow Out For Romney

      Although Republican leaders and the Democratic Party view Romney as having sewn up the contest, his Republican rivals fight on.
      By Amiel Ungar
      First Publish: 4/2/2012, 2:44 AM

      Newt Gingrich
      Newt Gingrich
      Reuters

      To judge by statements made by Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum on Sunday, even a Romney sweep of Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia on Tuesday will not alter their determination to soldier on to the very end.

      Ron Paul still considers himself a prophet who is trying to save the GOP from itself.

      Newt Gingrich will help Mitt Romney defeat Barack Obama, but only when Romney becomes the official nominee - till then he will fight him for every beachhead.

      Santorum will bow out only when Romney has mathematically achieved the delegate total necessary to clinch the nomination.

      It appears that this stage of the nomination race can be called the boy who cried inevitable. Because some of Romney's supporters in the press proclaimed his inevitable victory prematurely back in February, now that this inevitability has really appeared to set in, Romney's opponents appear to be in denial.

      They claim to be unimpressed, when every day the Romney camp can point to additional endorsements. Even the Democrats in the person of Vice President Joe Biden, who will function as Barack Obama's ultimate surrogate, are concentrating their fire on Mitt Romney.

      For Rick Santorum, every endorsement of his rival only appears to confirm the thesis that the Republican establishment wants to ram Romney down the Republicans' throats. Santorum's problem is that the Republican establishment keeps getting wider and his base narrower.

      In advance of the Wisconsin primary Romney, has been endorsed by Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, the icon of fiscal conservatism and the fight against entitlements - and by Senator Ron Johnson, a Tea Party favorite.

      The ultimate hope of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum is that Romney will fail in his quest to get to the magic number of 1144 to put him over the top on the first ballot, thus producing a contested convention. In such circumstances, Gingrich says he could envisage a Gingrich-Santorum ticket emerge or a Santorum-Gingrich ticket.

      It is one thing for Gingrich to hope that Romney can be stopped; it is quite another thing to hold out the possibility that a deadlocked political convention will suddenly rediscover Newt Gingrich.

      If the convention rejects Romney, Santorum and Gingrich on the first 2 ballots it will settle eventually on none of the above and pick a compromise candidate who has not been part of the fray. The only way the convention could go for a Gingrich-Santorum combo is if the 2 go into Tampa with a delegate lead over Romney and can convince the convention that Republican voters want a true conservative.

      The likeliness that this is going to happen is remote, as Gingrich himself conceded by terminating the services of his campaign director and cutting his campaign staff to the bone.

      Some of my readers have been upset with me whenever I write an opinion that downgrades Speaker Gingrich's chances. It is not a measure of disrespect for Gingrich's many talents. Politics and particularly presidential politics can be far from fair.

      Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson had all the makings of an excellent president. He was defeated in 1976 by a man who went on to become one of America's most disastrous presidents – Jimmy Carter.