For every sign that Republicans and conservative voters are finally embracing Mitt Romney as their presidential nominee, there's another that shows he still hasn't satisfied them. On the side of Republicans loving him, there's the fist-pumping crowd at his Philadelphia Tea Party speech Tuesday, a new poll, and an approving National Review editorial. On the other side is a different new poll, a focus group, a few skeptical Republican lawmakers.
On the like-like side:
- When Romney addressed Philadelphia Tea Partiers Tuesday night, The National Review's Robert Costa reports that the candidate literally got fist pumps from the roaring audience. "No longer is the conservative base fixated on debating Romney’s merits," Costa writes. "Instead, tea-party leaders, just a few steps from Independence Hall, speak eagerly about the upcoming battle with President Obama. Romney is the vessel and potential antidote for their Beltway-related frustrations."
- Romney is seen favorably by 76 percent of Tea Party voters, and unfavorably by only 16 percent, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey. "That's definitely indicative of a party base ready to get on the same page," PPP's Tom Jensen says. PPP is a Democratic firm, so if it were to try to skew the results -- which we are not alleging! -- it would be toward more disunity among Republicans.
- Republican lawmakers who had been holding out on endorsing Romney are slowly trickling in. Romney won the support of House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Tuesday; in the last week, he's picked up four Republican governors and a big Santorum donor.
- Romney had his own hot mic moment over the weekend, when he was overheard telling supporters how he'd like to eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development and end the mortgage tax deduction for second homes. While it's awkward that Romney got specific at a private fundraiser, The National Review says in an editorial, the conservative magazine nevertheless likes those specifics.