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Romney Blasts Trump; Trump Fires Back, While Locals Watch

Donald Trump should not carry the Republican presidential banner into the November election: that from the last man to do so.

Mitt Romney sought Trump’s endorsement when he was the 2012 Republican nominee. But Thursday he told an audience at the University of Utah that if Republicans choose Trump to be their presidential nominee, "the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished."

“His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University,” said Romney. “His domestic policies would lead to recession; his foreign policy would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president. And his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill.”

Romney also says that voters should pick one of the other three candidates – Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, or John Kasich.

Donald Trump’s first rebuttal came on Twitter, saying he’s the only one who can beat Hillary Clinton. He then addressed Romney’s speech at a campaign rally in Portland, Maine.

“Mitt is a failed candidate; he failed horribly,” Trump said. “That was a race [in 2012] that I would have to say should have been won. He was begging for my endorsement. I could have said ‘Mitt, drop to your knees,’ and he would have dropped to his knees.”

Romney later tweeted that “If Trump had said four years ago the things he says today about the KKK, Muslims, Mexicans, and disabled, I would NOT have accepted his endorsement.”  

Meanwhile, Romney’s verbal engagement of Donald Trump is being watched by both Republicans and Democrats at the local level.

Sam Mullins, who chairs the Santa Rosa Republican Executive Committee, believes that Romney’s speech could have an effect on Sen. Marco Rubio’s showing as an establishment candidate in the March 15th Florida primary.

“I believe it will because of [Rubio’s] tying himself to the Washington elite establishment,” Mullins said. “You have a lot of people within the Republican Party – we’ve had a lot of new people come on board – independents and former Democrats who are just as upset as some of the conservatives are with the Republican establishment.”

Also watching the Republican in-fighting is Mike Lowery, Chairman of the Escambia County Democratic Party, who says he has a concern and a question.

“Watching the results come in from Super Tuesday, the Republican numbers are extremely motivated as they were on the Democratic side in 2008,” said Lowery. “I also wonder if this is going to fracture the Republican Party.”

But for now, local officials in both parties have essentially the same chore: getting as many of their adherents as possible to the polls during early voting, and on March 15th.