Romney takes aim at Obama, Biden returns fire

(CBS News) MILWAUKEE - Republican officials say more and more, it looks like Mitt Romney will be the party's presidential nominee.

If Romney wins all of Tuesday's primaries, he'll be more than halfway to the number of delegates needed to clinch the GOP nod.

President Obama and his re-election campaign appear to be ready for that.

In a "Face the Nation" interview Sunday, Vice President Biden used one three-word phrase repeatedly to attack the Republican front-runner -- "out of touch.".

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"I think (former Massachusetts) Gov. Romney's a little out of touch," Biden said.

"I think it's totally out of touch with reality," he said at another point.

"I find that just totally out of touch with what most Americans think about American jobs," Biden remarked in another answer.

"I can't remember a presidential candidate in the recent past who seems not to understand, by what he says, what ordinary middle class people are thinking about and are concerned about," Biden also said.

A new USA Today/Gallup poll shows the president leading Romney 52 - 41 percent in Wisconsin and 11 other key states.

Romney is starting to act more like the nominee as he campaigns in Wisconsin, where Tuesday's most important primary is being held. There are also contests in Maryland and the District of Columbia

A string of endorsements from the GOP establishment and rising numbers in the polls left Romney a bit more lighthearted on the campaign trail this weekend.

"Is that what you call yourselves here? Wisconsinites?" he asked at one stop. " ... How about someone from Massachusetts?"

Romney laughed when someone in that crowd shouted out, "President!"

All kidding aside, Romney, sounding more confident than ever, ignored his Republican rivals and attacked Mr. Obama.

"This president can't run on his record," Romney said. "And so, he's going to try in every way he can to divert to some other kind of attack and try and have people disqualify our nominee, which will probably be me."

On "Face the Nation," Biden asked, "What is the Romney answer? There's nothing. All they argue is cut. Get rid of that. Get rid of that. ... This is about the middle class. And none of what he's offering does anything."

Meanwhile, growing numbers of Republicans are calling on former Penn. Sen. Rick Santorum to drop out of the race for the good of the party.

Santorum pointed to Romney's actions as reason to stay in. "Why," he asked, "is he spending $4 million in Wisconsin if the race is over? If it's over and there's no chance (for me), then why is he bothering even campaigning anymore if it's over?"

Newt Gingrich who's only won two contests, acknowledged over the weekend that Romney's the likely nominee, but Gingrich said he's going to make Romney work for it.

Whatever happens in Wisconsin, both campaigns are already looking ahead to Pennsylvania, Santorum's home state. Just a few weeks ago, he was ahead by 30 points there in one poll, but now, he's only up by two in the latest survey, the Franklin & Marshall College poll. It's really a dead heat.

The Romney campaign says they're gaining ground, they're going to pass him, and they think that will be the final act in this campaign, and the nod will be Romney's.

But even if Santorum loses to Romney in Pennsylvania, it's doubtful Santorum would drop out. The Santorum camp will not concede that there's any chance they'll lose Pennsylvania. They insist he's going to win big there. Also, there are five races in May in the South, including Texas, Arkansas and Kentucky, where Santorum has shown some big leads in the polls. So, anybody who thinks this is going to be over soon isn't listening to Santorum.

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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