By Deanna C. White
On March 7, the morning after an intense Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney was able to declare himself the winner, tallying up a total of 419 total Republican delegate votes, nearly double the delegate count garnered by his closest rival Rick Santorum, who currently stands at 178 total votes, according to Associated Press statistics.
It takes 1,144 delegates to win the nomination.
But there was little doubt, analysts say, it was not the resounding victory Romney was hoping for. Romney just eked out a victory in Ohio and scored wins in five other states, but close rival Santorum won three states, while Newt Gingrich took his home state of Georgia.
On March 7, Romney tried to shift the focus of his campaign to the general election, making several comments regarding President Obama's economic policies.
In a March 7 CNBC interview, Romney said he believes the conservative community will "come together" behind a Republican nominee because the "debt [Obama] has amassed and the jobs he has not created suggest that this is a guy whose time has come for early retirement."
But despite his efforts to transition his message to the next plateau, Santorum's continued surge, and Romney's inability to lock in the GOP nomination, Romney will still have to focus his attention on two separate political fronts, rather than exclusively devoting his time to the general election campaign.
In the meantime, financial analysts, Romney's GOP rivals, and, increasingly, the Obama camp, will continue to dissect the political and financial feasibility of the frontrunner's tax reform and economic recovery plans.
At a March 7 primary rally in Jackson, Mississippi, ahead of the state's March 13 primary, Santorum continued to try to position Romney as a candidate who has vacillated on important issues, like health care, and has "misrepresented" his views to the American people.
Besides Romney's continuing preoccupation with the GOP primary campaign, the Obama campaign also received good news on the economic front this week, with the March 7 release of the ADP National Employment Report®. According to the report, private sector employment increased by 216,000 from January to February on a seasonally adjusted basis.
The ADP National Employment Report, sponsored by Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP) and developed and maintained by Macroeconomic Advisers, LLC, is derived from actual payroll data and measures the change in total nonfarm private employment each month. The estimated gain in employment from December to January was revised up slightly to 173,000 from the initially reported 170,000.
A new study released February 23 by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) is also shedding some new light on the remaining GOP candidates' proposed tax and spending policies.
According to the study, in the intermediate-debt scenario, Romney's policies would add approximately $2.6 trillion to the nation's debt through 2021, while Santorum's policies would increase the debt by $4.5 trillion.
Gingrich would add $7 trillion more in debt above current projections (CRFB Realistic Baseline), while Ron Paul would add $2.2 trillion less. But Ron Paul would still be increasing the debt from 75 percent of GDP to 76 percent of GDP (2013-2021), just not to the 85 percent study authors projected under current policy (hence Paul's $2.2 trillion less).