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With Santorum leading some polls, Romney is a 'vulnerable frontrunner'

By Richard Piatt | Posted - Feb. 16, 2012 at 7:12 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- The GOP presidential candidates are focusing heavily on Michigan. For Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, it's a battle for delegates right now. It could also be a huge upset if Romney loses in the upcoming primaries in late February.

Michigan shares a primary date with Arizona on Feb. 28; the latter is widely seen as a shoe-in for Romney. Then Super Tuesday is just a week away, on March 6.

While Michigan is Romney's home state, he trails to Rick Santorum in several polls right now. Romney's position against the auto bailouts, combined with his lack of credentials as a true conservative, are pressing him to spell out his support of his home state.

"I care very deeply about the auto industry," Romney said. "I want to make sure that we have good jobs, not just for a few weeks, but for many, many years. I want the industry to come back in a big way. And I've taken on union bosses before. I'm happy to take them on again."


And it's probably going to hurt the party more, but Romney in some ways has brought it on himself. It's his to win. He's got to out and grab it.

–Chuck Todd


But Santorum is starting to act like a front-runner, campaigning Thursday against the Obama administration just as Romney has in the past.

"We will make this race about two visions for America: One that believes in those core values that built the greatest society in the history of the world, and one that is modeled after failed state after failed state."

Watching the two campaigns go at it shows Romney is a "vulnerable frontrunner," according to NBC political analyst Chuck Todd.

In an interview with KSL, Todd said a loss in Michigan for Romney would throw the GOP nomination process into chaos.

If Romney loses Michigan, you're going to hear public calls for new candidates, and frankly it's going to be a mess. And it's probably going to hurt the party more," Todd said. "But Romney, in some ways, has brought it on himself. It's his to win. He's got to go out and grab it."

Regardless of who's technically in the lead, Todd did say that there is a lack of passion in the Republican Party for any of the candidates right now.

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Richard Piatt

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