Ohio The Highlight Of Super Tuesday Ohio is one of 10 states voting on Super Tuesday. Although it doesn't have the largest haul of delegates, it has received the most attention in the run-up to voting. That's due to the pitched battle between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum there. Melissa Block talks with Ari Shapiro and Don Gonyea.

Ohio The Highlight Of Super Tuesday

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.


And I'm Melissa Block. Ten states are voting this Super Tuesday, and polls have now closed in three of them: Georgia, Vermont and Virginia. There hasn't been much suspense about who would win those states. While returns are just beginning to come in, the Associated Press is already projecting that Newt Gingrich will win his home state of Georgia. Mitt Romney is expected to win Virginia and Vermont. We'll hear from Gingrich headquarters in Georgia in just a moment. First, to Mitt Romney's headquarters in Boston. That's where we find NPR's Ari Shapiro.

And, Ari, of course, Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, what's the scene there?

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Just starting to heat up with the music just started playing. There was going to be a live band tonight, something we have not seen in previous election night headquarters. Romney spoke to reporters earlier today and said that he's just happy to be spending a night in his own bed for the first time in a couple of months and looking forward to a home-cooked meal of chicken marsala made by his son, Tagg.


BLOCK: OK. Well, besides winning, picking up some states and a lot of delegates tonight, what is the Romney team hoping to accomplish? Is it basically assuming a cloak of inevitability for the nominee?

SHAPIRO: They talk about this in mathematical terms, racking up the number of delegates they need to reach 1,144, that magic number, that gets them to the nomination. That's one reason that the superPAC supporting Romney advertised in states like Georgia and Tennessee that they never expected to win, they think they could pick up delegates there. And they're using these delegates' argument also to further the argument that they have the kind of infrastructure you need to go against Barack Obama that they say other candidates don't have.

They point to a state like Virginia where only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul qualified on the ballot. They point out that even in Ohio Rick Santorum did not qualify for all of the congressional districts, and they say that just adds to their case that Romney is the only one ready to go up against the Obama machine.

BLOCK: And, Ari, you're there in Massachusetts. Polls close there an hour from now. They just closed in Vermont. What about the Northeastern states that would be home turf for Mitt Romney?

SHAPIRO: Exactly. Home turf, he didn't campaign here at all because he really didn't have to. You should look for the kind of wide margins of victory in these states that you saw in New Hampshire back in January. What people are really going to be paying attention to is a state like Ohio, which will be an important swing state in the general election, where Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have been fighting for the kind of working class, white, blue collar voters that could go for Democrats or Republicans in the general election. And a strong showing by either candidate is going to be closely scrutinized for some symbols of what it'll mean in the general election in November.

BLOCK: OK. Ari, thanks so much.

SHAPIRO: Good to talk to you.

BLOCK: That's NPR's Ari Shapiro at Romney election night headquarters in Boston.

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