On Sunday's show, Melissa previewed today's bucketful of Republican presidential primaries using jelly beans as stand-ins for the delegates Mitt Romney and his fellow hopefuls hope to collect tonight. (And yes, she was counting the beans herself prior to the show.)
That day, the New York Times also detailed not only the delegate math that Romney hopes wins him the Republican nomination for President; it also described how he's following the Obama model. Just now in his White House press conference, the President was asked to weigh in on tonight's Super Tuesday's contests and respond to Romney's rhetoric about him (including this morning at AIPAC). President Obama offered no projections or retorts, only this to Romney:
"Good luck tonight."
Asked jokingly by a press corps member what he really felt, he said simply, "Really."
Expecting the President offer a prognostication is a little silly, so it is best to check in with Nate Silver.
He added that even though tonight may add up to a success for Romney and help to re-establish him as the front-runner along the path towards the nomination, there are implications for the general election:
If the evening goes exactly according to this plan — of course, it probably won’t — that would leave us in something of a predicament. Mr. Romney, by any objective measuring stick, would have had a good night, winning more than half the delegates and at least half the states — including Ohio, a state that inherently isn’t all that favorable to him.
But, as Mr. Romney’s position has improved in the polls, expectations have risen as well. The news media have been focused on three contests — Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee. Of these, Mr. Romney would win just one, and then by a margin that might not be called until fairly late in the night.
Of course, that these relatively challenging states for Mr. Romney are the focus of attention is a sign of his strength — the comparable case would be if, this November, the focus was on whether Barack Obama could win Georgia, Arizona and Montana. There are universes in which those could be the closest states — they are those in which Mr. Obama has won a clear victory everywhere else.
Tune into MSNBC tonight at 6:00pm Eastern for live coverage of the Super Tuesday primaries, anchored by our own Rachel Maddow.