THE MITT ROMNEY CRISIS transcends the seven straight national polls showing Rick Santorum in the lead. It goes beyond the embarrassing reality that the son of an auto executive and two-term governor has been behind in every Michigan poll conducted since Groundhog’s Day. Even more devastating for Romney is that elite Republicans have begun to conclude that he cannot, if nominated, beat Barack Obama. About the only argument that still works for Romney among GOP insiders is that he would be less of a drag on the ticket than the strident Santorum or the mercurial Newt Gingrich. – Walter Shapiro

The “tightening” showing Romney ‘closing” on Rick Santorum is a story line Mitt Romney’s campaign never thought they’d face.

From PPP:

The Republican race for President in Michigan has tightened considerably over the last week, with what was a 15 point lead for Rick Santorum down to 4. He leads with 37% to 33% for Mitt Romney, 15% for Ron Paul, and 10% for Newt Gingrich.

The tightening over the last week is much more a function of Romney gaining than Santorum falling. Santorum’s favorability spread of 67/23 has seen no change since our last poll, and his share of the vote has dropped only 2 points from 39% to 37%. Romney meanwhile has seen his net favorability improve 10 points from +10 (49/39) to +20 (55/35) and his vote share go from 24% to 33%.

There’s a debate on CNN Wednesday, which Erickson is proclaiming will likely be the last Republican debate.

This entire week will be spent watching Romney in Michigan. The biographical ads are working, helping his favorability, which has taken a direct hit through Romney’s carpet bombing negative ads.

I’m also not convinced that Rick Santorum’s new social issue insanity, which has now come down on prenatal screening as a means to “cull ranks of disabled,” is going to wear very well this week.

Santorum recalled his prominent role in the 1990s debates over the controversial procedure that critics call partial-birth abortion. He lambasted the president’s health care law requiring insurance policies to include free prenatal testing, “because free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions and therefore less care that has to be done because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society.”

Rick Santorum cannot imagine prenatal screenings being for the mother and child, because religious conservatives believe the women is less of a person and basically a host for the developing zygote.

Republicans have to know this man can’t win against Pres. Obama, but it does reveal how very desperately Republican primary voters still don’t want Mitt Romney.

This post has been updated.