It falls to Tuesday's primary in Wisconsin for Mitt Romney to finally wrest the coveted Republican presidential nomination out of Rick Santorum's unyielding fingers, with added endorsements adding wind to his sails from Republican heavy-hitters like Wisconsin's own Paul Ryan, who threw his support behind Romney on Friday, and Ed Gillespie, former GOP chairman, who cautiously said of Romney, "I don’t think he’s presumptive just yet, but I do think we’re near a tipping point.” But perhaps the most compelling evidence that the inevitable shall become absolute came in an interview with Milwaukee radio station WTMJ yesterday, where Newt Gingrich called Romney "clearly the front-runner," adding that Romney "will probably" get the 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the nomination.
But Santorum has yet to give up. Both candidates have been trying to appeal to religious conservatives today, the LA Times reports. At a gathering of the Faith & Freedom Coalition in suburban Milwaukee, Romney pledged to "defund Planned Parenthood" and "restore and protect our religious freedom" by repealing a rule that would require religious schools to include contraception in their health insurance employees.
"They want to dictate to the Catholic Church that the employees of the Catholic Church have to be provided by the Catholic Church with health insurance that gives them free contraceptives and free sterilization treatment and morning-after pills despite the fact that this violates the conscience of the Catholic Church," Romney said.
Santorum echoed those sentiments at a speech to a crowd in Waukesha, but made sure to remind voters of Romney's past as a healthcare reformer:
"When the government now controls your healthcare, your access to it, tells you what you must buy, tells you to do things that may even be against your faith convictions, you no longer rule the government; the government rules you," he told the crowd.
"Unfortunately," Santorum said, "the choice that you have before you in this election here in Wisconsin on Tuesday, you have one person who can make that case, and you have one who can't. Why? Because he presented the blueprint for Obamacare and advocated it."
According to the AP's Delegate Tracker, Romney has 568, and Santorum has 273. 42 delegates are up for grabs in Wisconsin, along with 37 in Maryland and 19 in District of Columbia.