Romney Turns to Math After More Santorum Wins

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By Kevin Liptak, CNN

(CNN) — As Rick Santorum enjoyed a day of favorable headlines following his primary wins in Mississippi and Alabama, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign again pointed to the seemingly inevitable delegate calculus that will propel their candidate to victory.

That’s the same tactic the Romney team took following Super Tuesday, when Romney and Santorum both walked away with important victories in states carrying large delegate prizes.

In a memo sent to reporters, Romney Political Director Rich Beeson asserted that “nothing had changed” following Tuesday night’s southern contests.

“Tuesday’s results actually increased Governor Romney’s delegate lead, while his opponents only moved closer to their date of mathematical elimination,” Beeson wrote, laying out a count showing Romney with nearly double the amount of delegates as Santorum.

CNN’s current estimate gives Romney 498 delegates, and Santorum 239 delegates. The other two candidates in the race, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, both trail by large margins, with 139 and 69 delegates, respectively. A candidate needs 1,144 to secure the GOP nomination.

Beeson said the margin between Romney and Santorum would prove impossible to overcome.

“Santorum and Gingrich now trail Governor Romney by margins they cannot mathematically make up,” Beeson wrote, adding: “In order to win, both Santorum and Gingrich need to start netting an impossible number of delegates to overtake Governor Romney.”

Speaking on CNN Tuesday, Santorum campaign Chief Strategist John Brabender said Romney’s math argument wouldn’t continue to hold up if he continues to lose big voting contests.

“He said he has to win 50% of the all the delegates out there to get there,” Brabender said. “The problem is he’s not — like last night was another example where he did not win 50%. On Saturday he did not win 50%, Santorum won more. So by his own math he’s having trouble getting to 1,144.”

Momentum, Brabender argued, was on his campaign’s side.

“It’s an exciting time for the campaign,” he said. “Rick Santorum said it best, a lot of average Americans are showing people the pollsters don’t know as well as they do. It was a big upset last night and certainly gives the campaign a tremendous amount of momentum.”