Cruise Control: Romney Takes the Lead in Wis.

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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Whether you call Mitt Romney confident, cautiously optimistic, or just plain determined, one thing is for sure: the former Massachusetts governor is in the driver's seat.

He's the front-runner who is looking past former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and going after the nation's commander in chief.

"This is where they're going: government directing your healthcare life. My own view is that's the wrong course," Romney told supporters.

"If I'm president, on day one I will stop 'Obamacare' in its tracks," he vowed. "We'll get it repealed and return it to you, the authority and the responsibility of your own healthcare."
 
Romney's Wisconsin lead is due to a couple of factors. First is the aura of inevitability. Despite questions about his conservative credentials, some voters are finally starting to come into his camp.

"I was waiting to see how everything was going to go, and it looks like he's got the lead, so I think he'll be good," one voter said.

Romney has also received support from high profile conservatives including Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who's been preaching about Romney's fiscal discipline.

"We see this ugly horizon of a debt crisis so we believe we should do something about it," Ryan said.
 
Second, Romney is expected to do well in Wisconsin because the evangelical turnout is expected to be less than 50 percent. Whenever it's been more than that, Romney has lost.

The Mormon Question

Still, some evangelicals have concerns about Romney's Mormon faith. That topic led to an uncomfortable exchange at a town hall in Green Bay.

"Your Mormon faith might not be a concern in the election but I think it might be as well as I found these verses in the Mormon book," Wisconsin resident Bret Hatch told the former governor.

"Why don't you give me a question?" Romney asked Hatch.

"Okay, well, in the Mormon book it says there were a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan that they were despised," Hatch continued.

But Romney interrupted the man, saying, "I'm sorry we're just not going to have a discussion about religion in my view, but if you have a question, I'll be happy to answer your question."

"I guess my question is do you believe it's a sin for a white man to marry and procreate with a black?" Hatch asked.

"No," Romney replied. "Next question."

Santorum, on the other hand, has done well with evangelicals and is still plugging away in Wisconsin, doubling the amount of events that Romney is holding.

"We're just continuing to work hard," Santorum said. "We're getting the endorsements of the people across Wisconsin, and that's what we're excited about."

Longer the Race, the Better

While Santorum and Romney continue to do battle, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, not their primary fight, is the headliner here.

Walker is facing a recall election after union bosses and liberals got enough signatures to force a vote later this spring.

Walker angered many in the state after his budget bill attempted to take power away from unions and cut some of their benefits. 

Still, conservatives see him as a hero and the presidential candidates have embraced him.
 
"It is bizarre to have all these candidates for president starting out each of their talks talking about me and this recall election," Walker said.
 
As for the presidential race, the governor told CBN News that while many Republican politicians want this race to end, he has no problem with it going longer.
 
"The more time, whether it's Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum, (or) anybody else, the more the candidate is actually spending, honing their message by actually talking to voters, feeling voters out and looking them in the eye, telling them what they're going to do, I think it actually makes them a better candidate," he explained.

The great Green Bay Packers legend, Vince Lombardi, once said that "leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile."

It's that sentiment Romney is finding out first-hand. With a win in Wisconsin, the goal of winning the nomination will be more clearly in sight.

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David Brody is an Emmy Award-winning veteran news journalist who has interviewed many prominent national figures during his career of nearly 25 years. Currently, David covers the White House and interviews national newsmakers across the country.  Follow David on Twitter @TheBrodyFile and "like" him at Facebook.com/TheBrodyFile.