By TOM RAUM, Associated Press
This day is mostly about math for Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.
Not fuzzy math or new math but the simple one-plus-one addition kind of math. By day's end, if all goes as expected, the former Massachusetts governor will finally have a mathematical lock on the Republican presidential nomination.
Never mind that he's been the frontrunner since the Iowa and New Hampshire contests in January and the presumptive nominee since his last major opponent — former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum — suspended campaigning on April 10.
Even so, "I need to get 50.1 percent or more" Romney said ahead of the Tuesday GOP primary in Texas expected to push him above the required 1,144 delegate threshold.
"I'm looking forward to good news," he said.
He still won't formally be nominated for another three months. That comes in late August at the Republican convention in Tampa. All before the general election campaign, which has for practical purposes been going on for months, can officially begin.
Romney was courting another set of numbers — voters and dollars — at campaign stops Tuesday in Colorado and Nevada, including a Las Vegas rally and fundraiser with Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, other significant numbers — percentages in new national polls — show President Barack Obama has been losing ground to Romney with the race now essentially a statistical dead heat.
Obama's re-election campaign surfaced a new television commercial on Tuesday accusing Romney of failing to stand up to "the voices of extremism" in his party. Obama played his presidential card, awarding the Medal of Freedom to 13 individuals, including singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, onetime astronaut John Glenn and former Secretary of State Madeline Albright.
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EDITOR'S NOTE _ With 161 days left until Election Day, here are insights into today's highlights in U.S. politics