From NBC's Ron Allen
6 a.m. wheels up. The press bus rolls to a Mitt Romney breakfast stop at Nashville's Pancake Pantry. The morning paper predicts the canidate will "pour on the syrup." (I quote because I try not to write stuff like that.)
Anyway, Romney is determined. Very determined. He says he's on a "24 hour non-stop" push to the finish with California locked in his sights. "If I win California, that means you're gonna have a conservative in the White House," he boldly predicts to reporters and a bleary eyed crowd of curious locals.
This morning Romney is excited. He says he's seen a poll that has him up 8 points in the Golden state. Delegates there are decided by congressional district, which means he'll probably get a good share regardless of who wins the state outright. Late Sunday, he changed his schedule to add a trip from Atlanta to Long Beach and back to Charleston West Virginia. He'll have "media avails" along the way, at every stop to get on the news.
This could be Romney's "last stand," some analysts say. Most polls across the country have him down pretty much everywhere. But he thinks capturing California, which has a closed Republicans only contest, could change things dramatically.
But John McCain knows that too. He's headed back to California as well before finishing up the pre-Feb 5th sprit in Arizona, home.
By the way, McCain is known for being superstitious, carrying a lucky coin and such. Romney, however, seems to have no fear of bad luck or coincidence. Good thing. Last night he watched in disbelief as his beloved Patriots went down in defeat. And outside the Pancake Pantry this morning, just as Romney finished exhorting conservative America to rise up and support him, the skies opened and poured with rain.