Some Republican officials are worried about how the presidential primary has damaged the party's brand -- the top two candidates are viewed negatively by a plurality of Americans -- and they're hoping Super Tuesday will be the grand finale.The candidates are scrambling to get every last vote they can while trying to convince the press that if they don't do that well, it's not so bad.
Our rundown of their last-minute strategies:
Strategy: Romney quit doing town halls for weeks -- for both security- and gaffe-related reasons -- but now they're back. The point is to show Romney's human side, The Wall Street Journal's Sara Murray reports. When an Ohio man asked a question about health care coverage of his kid with Down syndrome, Romney took him aside privately and talked about his nephew, who also has Down syndrome. He talks about his wife more, too. "Aides acknowledge connecting with voters is an issue for the campaign, but they say they're frustrated they cannot put the matter to rest," Murray reports. The candidate has three rallies in Ohio Monday.
Managing expectations: (This part of campaign coverage can make your brain hurty -- whose expectations are being managed? Reporters. And who is reporting on the managing of expectations? Reporters. Do campaigns ever try to manage the expectations of how they'll manage expectations?) Romney's campaign says they are only hoping to pick up a bunch of delegates in the South. Gingrich might win Georgia, for example, but it awards the most delegates Tuesday, and Romney can still win a lot of delegates by coming in second place. "I don’t know if we can win in Georgia or Tennessee," Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said Sunday, The New York Times reports. “But I know we can take delegates out of there and this is a delegate contest now.” In Tennessee, a fifth of voters think Mormonism, Romney's faith, is a "cult." But NBC News' Garrett Haake reports that the demographics of Atlanta suburbs look a lot like those of Oakland County, near Detroit, where Romney got half the vote.