MILWAUKEE (AP) — President Barack Obama’s administration launched a multi-pronged assault on Mitt Romney’s values and foreign policy credentials Sunday, while a fresh set of prominent Republicans rallied behind the GOP front-runner as the odds-on nominee, further signs the general election is overtaking the primary season.
A defiant Rick Santorum outlined plans to leave Wisconsin the day before the state’s contest Tuesday, an indication that the conservative favorite may be in retreat, his chances to stop Romney rapidly dwindling.
“I think the chances are overwhelming that (Romney) will be our nominee,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “It seems to me we’re in the final phases of wrapping up this nomination. And most of the members of the Senate Republican conference are either supporting him, or they have the view that I do, that it’s time to turn our attention to the fall campaign and begin to make the case against the president of the United States.”
Both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden went after Romney Sunday, underscoring the belief inside Obama’s Chicago re-election headquarters that Romney will — sooner than later — secure the right to face Obama this fall. Their involvement comes as both sides sharpen their general election strategy, perhaps weeks before the GOP contest formally comes to an end.
“I think Gov. Romney’s a little out of touch,” Biden told CBS’ “Face the Nation” in an interview broadcast Sunday. “I can’t remember a presidential candidate in the recent past who seems not to understand, by what he says, what ordinary middle-class people are thinking about and are concerned about.”
The line of attack is likely to play prominently in the Obama campaign’s general election narrative. While Obama is a millionaire, Romney would be among the nation’s wealthiest presidents ever elected. And he’s opened himself to criticism through a series of missteps.