To turn down an invite to meet the guy most still expect to the the Republican Party's presidential nominee is a pretty sick burn, but that's what many conservatives did to Romney at CPAC Thursday, The New York Times' Michael D. Shear and Erick Eckholm report. Romney met with Tea Party and evangelical leaders to discuss policy and electoral strategy, The Times reports, but several people weren't interested. It's February, eight states have voted, and it's way past deadline to get on the ballot of many others, but conservatives are still fantasizing that a Republican candidate can beat Mitt Romney, even if that means a new one has to get in the race. Can the Death Star be stopped if there's no rebel alliance?
These anti-Romney Republicans are still not quite ready to fantasize on the record, but they're willing to give some hints about their identity. The odds that there will be a contested Republican convention are still low, "But they're probably the best in my lifetime," a "veteran former GOP governor" told The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan. The odds are low that a new candidate will decide to compete, "a longtime party leader" told the Huffington Post's Jon Ward, "but it's the first time in my life time where there's a real chance." If neither Rick Santorum nor Newt Gingrich can overtake Romney, this Republican says, maybe a guy like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will get in. (For the record, Christie has endorsed Romney.)