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Worst of outcomes for Mitt Romney

WASHINGTON - Rick Santorum’s convincing wins in Tuesday’s Deep South double-header shook up the GOP presidential primary contest once again, highlighting front-runner Mitt Romney’s chronic weaknesses among conservatives while raising questions about Newt Gingrich’s ability to remain a major force in the nominating race.

The conservative underdog, Santorum can now lay greater claim to being the strongest challenger to Romney, who fell to 0-for-5 in the crucial southern region of the country. In January, South Carolina voters stifled Romney’s momentum after New Hampshire. Tennesseans gave Santorum a victory on Super Tuesday last week that once again showed Romney lacked appeal among white evangelical Christians.

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