- (Reuters/Darren Hauck)
Mitt Romney picked up another trio of primaries on Tuesday as he moved closer to securing the GOP presidential nomination. Meanwhile, Rick Santorum finds himself in a deeper hole as he tries to overcome Romney's growing list of major endorsements and delegates.
Romney won Maryland with just under half of the vote and is expected to take a majority of the state's 37 delegates. More importantly for Romney, the wins put him over the halfway mark to the 1,144 delegates it takes to secure the GOP nomination.
Altogether, there were 98 delegates up for grabs on Tuesday.
Romney also won with 42 percent of the vote in Wisconsin and won Washington, D.C., with a whopping 72 percent of the vote. Santorum was not even on the ballot in Washington, D.C.
As has been the case in past primaries and caucuses, Romney fared better with high-income earners who live in metropolitan areas while Santorum performs better with low-income voters who reside in rural areas.
Now that Romney has laid claim to more victories and delegates, he is turning his attention to President Obama rather than his fellow GOP opponents.
"He gets full credit or blame for what's happened in this economy, and what's happened to gasoline prices under his watch, and what's happened to our schools, and what's happened to our military forces," Romney told supporters in Waukesha, Wis.
And now that the race is moving toward a two-man showdown between Obama and Romney, the president is wasting no time in laying the House Republicans Budget plan at Romney's feet.
"Gov. Romney has said that he hoped a similar version of this plan would be introduced as a bill on 'Day 1' of his presidency," Obama said in a speech to News Editors on Tuesday. "He said that he's 'very supportive' of this new budget, and he even called it 'marvelous' – which is a word you don't often hear when it comes to describing a budget," Obama mused.
In the days leading up to the Wisconsin primary, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), whose popularity helped the former Massachusetts governor pick up a few more votes, joined Romney on a statewide bus tour.
Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush – both from Florida – and his father, former President George H.W. Bush of Texas, endorsed Romney last week.
Santorum hit the streets in Wisconsin looking for stray votes and even finding time to down a few beers with the state's conservative, blue-collar voters. However, Santorum was outspent nearly 4 to 1 by Romney's extensive fundraising network.
Although the month of May looks better for Santorum, he may be making his last stand in his home state of Pennsylvania.