A top Obama campaign official sought to cast doubt Sunday on the idea that Romney is the “inevitable” Republican nominee.
Robert Gibbs, the former White House press secretary, took aim at Romney over his second-place finish in the Kansas caucuses, arguing the results highlighted the former Massachusetts governor’s weaknesses with his party’s base.
Gibbs also said that the heated GOP primary has weakened the candidates going into the general election.
“It is a process that has in many ways torn each of them down,” he said, adding that the race has “become corrosive, it’s become destructive.”
President Obama will not fully engage with the GOP presidential campaign until Republicans choose a nominee, Gibbs said.
“Until we have a Republican nominee, I anticipate that the president will continue to do what he’s been doing since he came into office, which is putting people back to work,” he said.
But presumptive frontrunner Romney’s rivals show no intention of dropping out of the race.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sunday he plans to stay in the race until the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla., this summer.
“I’m committed to go all the way to Tampa,” he said on “Face the Nation.”
Gingrich also insisted that his decision to stay in the GOP presidential race would not hurt Republicans in the general election.
“It didn’t seem to hurt Barack Obama to have a vigorous contest. He won the election, remember?” Gingrich said, referring to the heated 2008 primary with Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Gingrich was responding to Sen. John McCain’s comments that Gingrich’s decision to stay in the race would damage Mitt Romney, the GOP frontrunner.
Gingrich predicted he will do well in this week’s primaries in Mississippi and Alabama, two key tests.
“They’re states I want to win. I think they are states that we’re going to do well in,” he said. “I think the odds are pretty good that we’ll win them.”