GOP activists fear primary takes a toll on Romney

CHARLES BABINGTON Associated Press Published:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican activists foresee a long presidential campaign that almost certainly will nominate Mitt Romney but may leave him weakened in the fall.

Interviews Wednesday with GOP officials and strategists in several states find no panic or calls for Romney to crank up his criticisms of Rick Santorum.

But several people say they worry that continued attacks on Romney may inflict wounds that won't fully heal in time for the November contest with President Barack Obama.

Some GOP officials are urging Santorum and Newt Gingrich to step aside. Others say a long primary won't hurt the party.