A day after an embarrassing trio of low-turnout losses in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri, Mitt Romney is sharpening his attacks against Tuesday night's big winner, Rick Santorum. Our Josh Robin has the latest in the fight for the Republican presidential nomination.
UNITED STATES -- Boston: We have a problem. Mitt Romney's hope for a direct flight to the White House has taken a detour.
Momentum, at least for the moment, is on the side of the once written off former senator from Pennsylvania.
"Congratulations to Rick Santorum on a big night, but we're looking forward to the games ahead and we think we're going to pick up the delegates we need," Romney said.
That was the nice part of Romney's news conference. Then he revved up the attacks against those looking to beat him: Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
“They are the very republicans who acted like democrats and when republicans act like democrats, they lose,” Romney said. “In Newt Gingrich's case, he had to resign and in Rick Santorum's case, he lost by the biggest margin of any Senate incumbent 1980."
Santorum defended himself by talking about the time he won.
"We both ran in 1994. I won and he lost. It’s not that Governor Romney didn't want to be Senator Romney," Santorum said.
Newt Gingrich only talked about a Super Bowl ad that's still making water cooler talk.
"While there's something controversial about it, I have to confess I liked the Clint Eastwood halftime ad," Gingrich said.
It's probably early in the second quarter in this race. While Romney didn't win a single county in Minnesota, he's ahead in overall delegates. He also has more money to go the distance. But since Tuesday, Santorum's donations are picking up.
Something else may be trending in Santorum's favor. The economy is improving and social issues like abortion, birth control and religion is taking its place in national discussions. On those topics, Romney, once a moderate governor who supported abortion rights, is seen to be at a disadvantage.
Santorum visited a Texas church Wednesday, perhaps praying for fortitude. Because keeping up the buzz won't be easy.
The next contests aren't until February 28th.