GOP Nominee Still Up in the Air after CPAC

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WASHINGTON -- Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney got a boost for his campaign this weekend, narrowly beating out Texas Rep. Ron Paul to win Maine's caucus.

He was also picked as the winner of the Conservative Political Action Conference, proving he can still win over conservatives.

"Today we really are poised for victory in November," Romney declared before the CPAC audience.

Romney was one of four GOP presidential candidates who spent three days reaching out to the most plugged-in conservative hearts and minds in the country at this weekend's gathering.

"This is the year to reset this country in a decisive, bold way," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told the audience.

"We are not just wings of the Republican Party," former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum declared. "We are the Republican party."

Fresh off a three-state sweep, Santorum is now Romney's challenger of the moment.

"I don't know who he (Romney) is appealing to. If you look at conservatives and Tea Party types, they make up the majority of who Republican voters are," Santorum said.

"And I think in a caucus and a primary, maybe that's why he's not doing as well as people thought he would do," he concluded.

Romney is trying to court some skeptical social conservatives, saying he is the only one who can take back the White House.

"I know this president and his liberal allies are going to attack me for where he is afraid to lead," Romney said. "So be it. I am going to stand and fight; we're going to win on this."

After hearing from three of the four candidates still in the running, for many conservative voters, it's a split decision.

"As far as someone who has been a champion of Judeo-Christian principles, Rick Santorum is the clear choice," one attendee said.

"Mitt Romney versus Obama is better than Obama coming back for another term," another attendee said.

Given the mixed reception and undecided voters, this campaign could come down to a history-making brokered deal at convention, with a nominee chosen in Tampa in August.
"If we go in there open, Romney has some votes, Ron Paul has some votes, Rick has some votes, I have some votes. You could have a fifth candidate," Gingrich speculated.

"You could see someone emerge overnight as people say, 'Wait a sec, none of you four convinced us. You had a year to convince us. Maybe we need to go to somebody new,'" the former House speaker said.

Santorum, for his part, appears intent on capitalizing on his newly gained momentum.

"[The] convention is six months from now, so we're just going to keep working hard and doing the best we can," Santorum said.

"We feel like we've picked up a little momentum here, and we're going to try to capitalize on it, with making sure we stay to the issues," he said.

Arizona and Michigan will hold their primaries in the next two weeks. After that, it's the big Super Tuesday primary on March 6.

If the GOP field is still muddy after that, it's anybody's guess who the nominee will be because at that point, the talk of a brokered convention will be real and palpable.

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CBN News
David Brody

David Brody

CBN News Chief Political Correspondent

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