It was a clean sweep for Mitt Romney Tuesday night.
Two states and the District of Columbia were up for grabs, winner take all, in the Republican presidential primary, and Romney took — 80 delegates and perhaps unstoppable momentum in the Republican race to challenge Barack Obama in November.
Romney won in Washington, D.C., (handily at that), Maryland, and by slightly less than 5 points in Wisconsin. While challengers Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul have all disavowed dropping out of the race before the August convention, the inevitable is becoming clear.
In November — barring a complete meltdown — Romney will challenge President Barack Obama. According to The New York Times, Romney's victory in Wisconsin came with victories in once-reluctant constituencies, including Tea Party supporters. He also performed well among evangelicals and those who call themselves "very conservative."
For his part, Santorum insisted he'll keep competing, including in his home state of Pennsylvania in two weeks. But if you're looking for more signs of what's to come, Obama on Tuesday took direct aim at Romney, rather than at the whole field of Republicans.
"He said that he’s ‘very supportive’ of this new budget,” Obama said of Romney, according to the Times. “And he even called it ‘marvelous,’ which is a word you don’t often hear when it comes to describing a budget; it’s a word you don’t hear generally."
But Romney hit back — in the same vein.
“President Obama thinks he’s doing a good job — I’m not kidding,” Romney said to a crowd of supporters. “It’s enough to make you think that years of flying around on Air Force One, surrounded by an adoring staff of true believers telling you that you’re great and you’re doing a great job, it’s enough to make you think that you might become a little out of touch.”
The chorus of Republican party leaders calling for the party at-large to rally around Romney is growing louder, the Washington Post reported. That chorus should grow louder in the coming days and weeks as more polls are released — polls that should show Romney putting more room between himself and the rest of the Republican field.