CBS News political director John Dickerson was joined on Hotsheet Live on Friday by Huffington Post's Jon Ward, The New York Time's Michael Shear, and PBS's Christina Bellantoni to talk about the race for the Republican nomination.
Several GOP candidates have recently slipped up, including Rick Santorum, who said he'd vote for President Obama over his GOP rival Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, Romney's top adviser compared the former Massachusetts governor to an Etch-a-Sketch, making this contest a "bizarre boxing match," said Jon Ward.
Michael Shear described the Etch-a-Sketch comment, which came on the heels of an Illinois primary victory, as "one step forward, two steps back" for the Romney campaign. "Romney needs to avoid in that period of time in April when there's three weeks of nothing going on, those kinds of moments. If he avoids those, then maybe the drum beat grows," said Shear.
But Bellantoni argued that the comment could have been worse. "The fact that it's a top adviser, the fact that he explained himself made a difference," she said.
Ward said that this may be "the beginning of the end" for the GOP candidates behind front-runner Romney. But none of the other candidates have yet to back down.
Should a contested convention occur, the roundtable said that Romney could still have cards in his favor.
"If there is one place where Romney has been dominant, it's been on this question of who can beat Obama," said Dickerson. "Romney, while he may not have the right number of delegates, is still the leader on this question." Bellantoni added the convention contest as an "establishment event" would work in Romney's favor.
"Hotsheet Live" is now asking its Friday panel to provide "endorsements" to close the show. Here are this week's endorsements:
Christina Bellantoni: Roll Call Election Preview and Sunlight Foundation refrigerator magnets that can build Super Pac names
Michael Shear: Hunger Games and the iPad 3
Jon Ward: "A Perfect Candidate," the documentary
And John Dickerson weighed in himself: The 1964 film "A Best Man"