GINGRICH: Calling it a day? “Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich yesterday signaled that he is almost ready to raise the white flag,” the New York Post writes. “The former House speaker admitted in the most striking terms yet that rival Mitt Romney is ‘far and away the most likely Republican nominee,’ and he pledged to back Romney to defeat President Obama in November. A downcast and emotional Gingrich admitted on ‘Fox News Sunday’ that his campaign was buried in debt and that running for president ‘turned out to be much harder than I thought it would be.’” And this: “I hit him as hard as I could; he hit me as hard as he could,” he said. “Turns out he had more things to hit with than I did. That’s part of the business.”
He also said, per Roll Call: “[He’s] conservative enough [and] I suspect he will accept a solid, conservative platform, but he does have consultants who are of the Etch a Sketch tradition.”
He told the Washington Post: "It never occurred to me -- and this is one of the lessons I'm contemplating for some future memoir -- it never occurred to me the scale of the Romney fundraising capability. I was fully prepared to be outspent 2-to-1, even 3-to-1. But when you're up to 5- or 6-to-1, you're being drowned. You're not going to be able to match it."
And he says he’s staying in for the donors: GOP 12: “Gingrich said his donors, including those he met Wednesday in Wilmington, “asked me to stay in the race..... They very much do not want me to drop out,” Gingrich told the Raleigh News & Observer. “They think if Romney wins it, that is one thing. But there is no reason to concede to him.”
ROMNEY: The AP’s Beaumont: “Mitt Romney faces a daunting to-do list as he transitions into the role of likely Republican presidential nominee. Among the tasks: Raise as much money as possible for the general election campaign against President Barack Obama. Hire more people and send them to the most critical states in the fall race. Hone his message to appeal to voters across the political spectrum. And do it all quickly while fending off challenges from GOP rivals who refuse to quit the primary race.”
Republican activists “expect Romney, as well as his popular wife, Ann, to make an explicit pitch to female voters on the economy and jobs, their top issues,” the AP writes. And: “[T]he Republican's challenge is stark. Romney must overcome history, political math and the missteps of a party that picked a fight over one provision of Obama's health care law and ended up on the defensive over access to birth control. Romney also has work to do with female voters after inconsistencies or misstatements on issues such as abortion and the future of Planned Parenthood.”
Speaking of that, Ann Romney is featured prominently in a new web video released Friday focusing on family, her five children, and her husband.
“It's over, and Mitt Romney is going to be the GOP nominee for president,” AP writes. “That's the growing consensus among Republican National Committee members who will automatically attend the party's national convention this summer and can support any candidate they choose. Even some members who support other candidates begrudgingly say the math doesn't add up for anyone but the former Massachusetts governor.”
But first, Romney is still trying to put the race away by playing big in Pennsylvania. GOP 12: “Salena Zito reports that Mitt Romney is up in Pennsylvania today with a $2.9 million buy that will run through the April 24 primary.”
On Meet the Press Rep. Raul Labrador said the media will make Romney’s Mormonism an issue.
The New York Daily News also notes Romney revived his Harvard attack on Obama Thursday, saying, “We have a president who I think is a nice guy, but he spent too much time at Harvard, perhaps.”
Yet, the Daily News points out: “Romney has actually spent more time at Harvard than Obama. In 1975, the White House hopeful earned a joint JD/MBA degree at the prestigious school over the course of four years-one year longer than the three years Obama spent there getting his law degree. In addition, three of Romney's sons have post-graduate degrees from Harvard, and he gave $50,000 to the business school in 2003.”
On Sunday, the New York Times looked at Romney’s friendship with Israeli PM Netanyahu.
SANTORUM: “Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum will resume his campaign Tuesday with a slate of events in his home state, according to a schedule released by his campaign Saturday morning,” the Boston Globe says. “Pennsylvania holds its primary on April 24, and there have been intensifying speculation that Santorum, hoping to avoid the embarrassment of losing in his own home state, would bow out of the race.”
“Former Sen. Rick Santorum’s (Pa.) support for a troubled Clinton administration judicial nominee is drawing fresh scrutiny from conservatives as the GOP presidential candidate struggles to regain his footing against presumptive nominee Mitt Romney,” Roll Call writes. “Some Republicans see Santorum’s 1998 backing of Frederica Massiah-Jackson to be a district court judge in Philadelphia as conflicting with the staunch conservative persona he has put forward.”