Romney needs to win, and win big in Michigan

DETROIT - It's primary day in Michigan and Arizona.

Mitt Romney is expected to win in Arizona, but it's too close to call in Michigan, where he grew up.

Last night, in Royal Oak, Mich., Kid Rock gave his politician friend a political boost just when he really needed one, appearing at a Romney rally.

Rock's hit song, "Born Free," has become the Romney campaign's theme song.

Complete coverage: Election 2012

At a rally earlier in the day, Romney sounded confident about Michigan, saying, "This sure has been fun these last ten days or so. We started off, what, 15 points down in the polls. Now we are leading in the polls."

But in fact, the polls show the race in Michigan is neck-and-neck.

Four years ago, Romney won Michigan by a wide margin, which means this time around, if he accomplishes anything less, his opponents are sure to call it a defeat. And if Romney loses, even some of his leading supporters say the race could be a nail-biter all the way to the Republican convention in August.

Rick Santorum might not even need a win to declare victory. He said on Fox News, "If we run well and finish both these races where it looks like it's a two-person race, I think that's going to mean really good things going into Super Tuesday."

Santorum has been criticized for putting too much focus on religion and social issues, but he's not backing off. As he put it at one event, "They say, 'Oh, there's Santorum talking about social issues again.' No, I'm talking about freedom."

Campaigning in Tennessee ahead of next week's Super Tuesday primaries, Newt Gingrich was looking to foreign policy and a surprising take on Afghanistan as a way to distinguish himself from the crowd "We're not going to fix Afghanistan," he said. "It's not possible. ... And there's some problems where what you have to do is say, 'You know, you're going to have to figure out how to live your own miserable life."'

One thing to watch in Michigan -- Democrats might vote, even though it is a GOP primary. Michigan's Democratic Party is encouraging Democrats to vote for Santorum, in an effort to deprive Romney of a clear victory.

To see Chip Reid's report, click on the video in the player above.

  • Chip Reid

    Chip Reid is CBS News' national correspondent.

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