The speech, which some view as Romney's first step toward a bid for the White House, is expected to draw hundreds of GOP members to Spartanburg, including most of the state's Republican elite. South Carolina holds the first major Southern presidential primary.Romney seems to clearly be testing the waters for '08. Can a Mormon Massachusetts governor win the Republican nomination for president, especially one who is not avowedly pro-life? Romney's opposition to embryonic stem-cell research has played well among conservatives, but that same constituency will want further assurences on the abortion issue.
Romney supporters have spent months quietly easing the way for his introduction to the key state, donating lavishly to GOP candidates and county committees. South Carolina political observers suggest he will arrive to a warm and open-minded audience. . . .
In addition, Romney's recent announcement in The New York Times that he would oppose human embryonic stem-cell research that involves therapeutic cloning was noticed among South Carolina Republicans, and some say it will bolster his image among abortion opponents.
UPDATE: More on Romney's visit can be found here.