Despite the GOP primary distraction, Romney is trying hard to look ahead — no matter how daunting the view.
At the end of February, the president's re-election campaign reported $84.7 million in the bank compared with Romney's $7.3 million — all money raised for the primary. Obama has more than 530 paid staff compared with roughly 100 for Romney. And Obama already has staff distributed in almost every state in the nation, while Romney's team is concentrated in Boston and a handful of primary states.
In recent days, Romney's team has tried to start preparing to tackle the challenges. Aides visited Washington to recruit staffers in hopes of hiring them as soon as the campaign has enough general election money. The campaign recently alerted donors to prepare to raise general election dollars.
Mindful of the need to keep at least one eye on the primary fight, Romney sent a message to Republicans set to vote April 24 in a series of contests: He hasn't forgotten them.
"Tonight, I'm asking the good people of Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island to join me. Join me in the next step toward that destination of Nov. 6, when across America we can give a sigh of relief and know that the Promise of America has been kept," he said. "The dreamers can dream a little bigger, the help wanted signs can get dusted off and be put in the front yard, and we can start again."
Romney cannot fully start again, however, for a little while longer.
EDITOR'S NOTE — Steve Peoples covers the presidential campaign for The Associated Press.
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