Having faced candidates the morning after a tough loss, I have some empathy for what the Romney advisers are going through today. Good candidates — and Mitt Romney is a good candidate despite his quirks — don’t spend much, if any, time on what just happened; they want to know what’s next. So what might his advisers say about that?
Well, first there are some logistics: Work the media. Spin the losses. Explain that Romney went from nowhere in the South to contending. Make the best case out of the exits. Play the delegate card again, even though the media are sick of it. It won’t make much difference, but there has to be some kind of counternarrative.
Call Newt Gingrich. Maybe he doesn’t take the call, but reach out anyway. Whatever lines are open to Shelly Adelson, use them. Having the Las Vegas billionaire, who single-handedly bankrolled Gingrich, come over to Romney’s side is a statement of political muscle.
Use all the negative ads you have been testing on Rick Santorum but haven’t been able to fully deploy because Gingrich might have been the beneficiary.