About time to be moving on

By math or momentum, endorsements or establishment frustration, it is easy to finally measure Mitt Romney's advantages over his rivals at this critical moment in the campaign. While he isn't likely to win anywhere overwhelmingly on Super Tuesday, he will pile up an insurmountable delegate lead that will soon make him the nominee-to-be. That is, unless he loses Ohio and all hell breaks loose.

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Rick Santorum has lost a considerable lead in Ohio in only a matter of days, after Romney won Michigan and Arizona and then the Washington state caucuses. Having blown it with all his thundering about contraception and religion and the evils of college education, enough Republicans decided that though he may be principled, he wasn't looking so electable against President Obama. The famous anti-Romney vote began to splinter further, and Romney now leads in national polls and has closed gaps in Ohio and other Super Tuesday states. Even states he will lose — like Georgia and perhaps Tennessee — provide opportunities to pick up delegates — like the metro areas of Atlanta and Nashville, for example. By Wednesday morning Romney should have the clearest path to the nomination, even if it runs through April, May and into June.

Many Republicans in what is left of the establishment are growing increasingly worried about the length and effect of the contest and are eager to see it end. They want Romney to start campaigning against Obama and not Santorum, and to get the focus back to the economy. Rush Limbaugh calling a college student a slut and heated debates about contraception are doing little to win over swing voters, and the subsequent damage to the GOP brand is showing up in poll after poll. At some point those Republican voters who can't stand the thought of Obama getting reelected are likely to jump on the Romney bandwagon, if for no other reason than the time has come.


HOW LONG WILL GINGRICH AND SANTORUM CONTINUE? Ask A.B. returns Thursday, March 8. Please join my weekly video Q&A by sending your questions and comments to askab@thehill.com. Thank you.