The Washington Post

After Florida primary, Romney needs to heal party wounds

With a double-digit victory in Florida, I believe Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee for president. Newt Gingrich can linger, he can shake his fist, he can strafe Romney to persue his grievances, he could even win a Dixie state primary or two, but he has lost his chance. Newt’s defeat will be overanalyzed, but I think in the end he was neither likeable nor durable. When he got punched, he couldn’t take it, he got angry, and it showed. That was that.

It is under-reported that GOP candidates and any Republican running for reelection — from sheriff to senator — was terrified of sharing the ballot with Gingrich. Wednesday the party will begin to coalesce around Romney.

Romney needs to tend to the Febuary primaries, and he should not be in a hurry to start daily combat with President Obama and start a general election before he is ready. And he is not ready. The next few weeks should all be about party outreach and building the 2012 team, starting with the candidates that will be on the ballot with him in 2012.

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.

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