Mitt Romney's top consultant, Stuart Stevens, told reporters in Mesa, Arizona Wednesday night that the former governor is sliding all his chips into the Michigan primary next Tuesday.
"We're going to be in Michigan every single day," Stevens said in the spin room following Wednesday evening's debate broadcast by CNN. "We're going to win Michigan."
Stevens' words acknowledge the reality that a Michigan defeat for Romney would be a catastrophe for Romney, who grew up outside Detroit and whose father was governor of the state. They also suggest that Romney's aides are skeptical of recent poll numbers showing Rick Santorum with a lead in the state.
Stevens was also forced to respond to questions about the impossible emergence of a "dark horse" challenger to Romney and Santorum.
"This party has a great candidate: Mitt Romney," he said.