Romney campaign says GOP opponents helping Obama by staying in the race

Mitt Romney's campaign on Wednesday charged his opponents with helping President Obama win reelection by staying in the GOP primary race.

In a memo on the state of the race, the Romney team emphasized the former Massachusetts governor's lead in the delegate count and, while it doesn't flat-out say his rivals should drop out of the race, it does strongly hint at it.

"As Gov. Romney’s opponents attempt to ignore the basic principles of math, the only person’s odds of winning they are increasing are President Obama’s," Romney campaign political director Rich Beeson wrote.

The argument is the most public push for an early end to the primary, and the first time Romney's campaign has publicly acknowledged that the long nominating contest is hurting his general-election chances.

It comes the morning after Romney narrowly won Ohio's crucial primary, beating rival Rick Santorum by a mere 1 percent.

Titled "Our opponents’ last stand: A postmortem," the memo says that none of Romney's opponents can catch him in the delegate count. It also points out that Romney increased his edge in delegates after Super Tuesday, and hints strongly that Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul should exit the race — and soon.

"Super Tuesday dramatically reduced the likelihood that any of Gov. Romney's opponents can obtain the Republican nomination," writes Beeson.

He points out: "Governor Romney now has more than twice as many delegates as Sen. Santorum and four times more than Speaker Gingrich. He has won twice as many states as Sen. Santorum and seven times more than Speaker Gingrich."

According to the Romney campaign's math, he picked up 205 delegates, while Santorum picked up 85 and Gingrich won 73 on Super Tuesday, which gives Romney a 430-185 edge in the total delegate count over Santorum. To win the nomination, a candidate needs 1,144 delegates.

Given the Republican nominating calendar, Romney's rivals face tough odds in taking a lead in delegates. But Romney didn't get the boost he was hoping for with a big win out of Ohio. And the next round of contests, which include a few Southern states, doesn't favor the former governor.

—This story was updated at 10:35 a.m.