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2012: No Mr. Nice Guy

Time's Joe Klein: "The Republican presidential-primary campaign is over. The result was a good one for the country: Mitt Romney was, by far, the most plausible of the major candidates…. The real damage this year was not caused by the candidates; it came from a significant segment of the Republican electorate, which all too often celebrated ignorance and bigotry and displayed a disturbing appetite for nihilism."

More Klein: "Romney’s obeisance to the base is a debilitating problem as he proceeds to the general election. His sketchy etches on immigration and contraception have crippled him with Latinos and women.

GINGRICH: Gingrich was in Wilmington, N.C., yesterday. AP: “Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich is using a basketball analogy to indicate his intention to continue his bid for the GOP nomination. Talking to WWAY-TV in Wilmington on Wednesday, Gingrich described North Carolina as a great state for sports and that people expect basketball teams to play the entire game. He said his bid for the White House has every right to campaign until the race is over.”

ROMNEY: “Don't expect Mitt Romney to spend a lot of time trying to get voters to like him this fall,” AP’s Miga writes. “Instead, the likely Republican presidential nominee will probably rely on a ton of campaign cash and a barrage of nasty attack ads ripping into President Barack Obama for policies that Romney says aren't helping the economy recover fast enough. Look for Romney to take a more moderate tack, too. That's essentially the playbook Romney followed in his last campaign against a Democrat, when he was elected Massachusetts governor in 2002.

His 2002 campaign manager, Ben Coes, said: Then and now, "voters were electing someone to clean up a mess. He ran as the toughest guy with the most experience to go in there and clean up a mess. ... It's the reason he got elected in 2002, and it's how he could get elected in 2012.” (Then again, that 2002 campaign was the ONLY time Romney has won office.)

“Mitt Romney, hours after a triumphant victory in three primary states, on Wednesday delivered a stinging rebuke of President Obama, saying he was playing ‘hide and seek’ and withholding his real views from the American public,” the Boston Globe’s Viser writes. And: “Romney also seemed to be anticipating some of the criticism over how he earned his fortune, while working for a firm that in some instances profited from laying off workers or shutting down companies. ‘If we become one of those societies that attack success, one outcome is certain – there will be a lot less success.’”

But there’s also this, as the Globe writes: “Mitt Romney is often guarded around members of the media. As governor, he famously installed velvet ropes at the State House that prevented much interaction with reporters. During this campaign, he’s gone weeks at times without holding a press conference, and he’s one of the only candidates not to appear on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press.’ But on Wednesday morning, before a ballroom of media executives, Romney played the role of media critic.”

And: “While he has a staff that can be combative with reporters, Romney himself has rarely criticized the media the way other presidential candidates have.”

Another tepid endorsement from Marco Rubio: "What I take away from last night is what I took away from last week, and that is the primary is over. Everyone may not agree with who won, but the primary is over.”

SANTORUM: “Rick Santorum has no campaign events scheduled as he takes "a brief break" from the campaign trail.”

Et tu, Foster Friess?