Fox News just called it for McCain. It’s particularly important to note that McCain won in a Republicans only primary, whereas the other states that he won, New Hampshire and South Carolina, were open states, which means Florida Republicans do seem to want him as their nominee. Governor Charlie Crist’s and Senator Mel Martinez’s endorsements probably contributed to McCain’s win as well. This allows McCain to sail into Super Tuesday with a lot of momentum. Giuliani is done, having come in third, and according to Mark Halperin Giuliani will bow out and endorse McCain, perhaps as early as Wednesday. Although Mitt Romney is not out, McCain’s win tonight means the odds that he will be our nominee go way up.
Now, what does this mean to conservatives who swore they would never vote for McCain should he become the nominee? I would hope that they would put aside their distaste and vote for McCain instead of electing a second President Clinton by sitting out.
Added: Having watched Giuliani’s speech, his tone sounds like he’s done. Could this mean a possible McCain/Giuliani ticket?
Update: Mark Levin at The Corner on Huckabee’s insistence on remaining in the race:
Huckabee comes in Fourth. He won’t leave. As I and some others said almost from the start, he is vying to be Veep and will continue to try to hold down Romney’s numbers in future primaries. Romney is running against McCain-Huckabee, which will be difficult for him.
Update II: Romney’s speech was really good. He spoke about growing up in America and that he knew America was the greatest nation on earth. I liked this line: “Freedom and opportunity was like the air; it was everywhere I went.” Great imagery. His speeches get better and better every time he gives one. His voice was a bit hoarse, which tells me that behind the scenes he was probably working very hard to rally the troops.
Update III: Listening to McCain’s speech now. His speaking cadence is unusual, almost sing songy. I can’t quite put my finger on what it’s like, but I just don’t like it. It’s uninspiring and unnatural in some ways. I prefer Romney’s style because it sounds like he speaks to the crowd whereas McCain speaks at the crowd. This of course doesn’t really mean a whole lot, but it’s just my observation.
Update IV: Kathryn Jean Lopez also at The Corner:
I’ll shut up after this post, but Romney has been ON since Michigan. It may prove — it may have been proven tonight — to be too late. But this guy speaking right now, is hitting important issues, making you feel good about America, as you should. It’s a rallying speech. Maybe it’s the silly flip-flopping thing that has been too hard to shake. Maybe he took too long to rise above it.
What if Fred had endorsed? What if Jeb had? Ah well.
It may not be over. But it’s going to be hard to kill McCain’s momentum coming out of tonight and a probable Rudy endorsement. He does have the money and the turnaround skills …
Let’s hope he can do it.
Update V: More praise for Romney’s speech tonight. It’s from Hugh Hewitt who is a Mitt Man but he’s right nonetheless.
Romney’s speech tonight was exactly the sort of speech he needs to give again and again for the next week. The conservatives aren’t going to throw in the towel which means Romney has the chance to go from underdog to the last man standing opposite McCain next week.
Now that I’ve had time to think about this, should McCain win the nomination, the smart thing for McCain to do is select Romney as VP. It would unify the party if they are united. Kennedy put LBJ on the ticket and Reagan put Bush on the ticket. You don’t have to like the guy to have him as your VP. Huckabee wouldn’t work because he’s ticked off too many economic conservatives. With the economy being an issue, he’d be very smart. I mentioned McCain/Giuliani earlier, but that wouldn’t balance the ticket.
Update VI: The AP confirms that Giuliani will endorse McCain tomorrow.