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PW logo Santorum Retakes Lead in Michigan Santorum Seeks Democratic Crossover Votes
Did Santorum Regain Momentum in Michigan? Cicilline Headed for Big Defeat in Rhode Island
The End of the Republican Party? Romney Recalls Event He Couldn't Have Seen

News from the Votemaster

Romney Attacks, Santorum Defends, Nothing Much Changes     Permalink

Rick Santorum demonstrated last in the Republican debate in Mesa, AZ, why only three senators have ever been elected President: senators vote thousands of times each year and an opponent can always find a couple of votes that make the senator look bad in the context of the current campaign. Romney landed one punch on Santorum when he said: "While I was fighting to save the Olympics, you were fighting to save the Bridge to Nowhere." Yes, Santorum did support the bridge to Gravina Island, a pet project of the late Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), but so did most Republicans as well as former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) and President George W. Bush. Unfortunately in modern campaigns, even a candidate as consistent as Santorum will occasionally take a position that years later come back to haunt him when an opponent makes it the centerpiece of his campaign. In baseball it is three strikes and you are out. In politics, it's one strike and you are off to the shower.

Santorum was largely on the defensive. When Romney attacked him for supporting "No Child Left Behind" he mumbled something about being a team player. He could have said something like: "That was a key initiative of a Republican President and, unlike you, I have supported Republican policies my whole life." But he didn't.

Romney also went after Santorum for backing Arlen Specter when Specter was running for reelection. Specter later became a turncoat but Santorum didn't know that was going to happen at the time. Again, Santorum could have emphasized his loyalty to the Republican Party and called Romney a RINO, but again he didn't.

All in all, Romney played offense most of the evening and that may have been enough to keep Santorum from gaining ground in the Michigan and Arizona primaries next Tuesday. At times the exchanges between Romney and Santorum got very testy. It is clear the two of them don't like each other. A potential ramification of this personal animosity is that if Santorum wins Michigan and a few states on super Tuesday and forces the campaign to continue for weeks or months, uniting the party later will be harder. In particular, the obvious way to unite the party would be for Romney to choose Santorum as his running mate. But if the two men hate each other, it would be an awkward ticket. It's happened before--John Kennedy thought Lyndon Johnson to be a stupid country yokel, but he needed Johnson on the ticket to win Texas.

Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich also showed up last night.

So now it is up to the voters in Michigan and Arizona. If Santorum manages to pull off victories in both states, the Republican elite is going to be in a state of complete panic. If Romney wins both, it is back to business as usual, with Romney the expected nominee. In less than a week we will know.

Of Vaginas and Veeps     Permalink

Just as the Virginia state legislature was poised to pass a bill requiring any woman requesting an abortion in Virginia to have an ultrasound probe inserted into her vagina so she could view the fetus (typically 1/8 inch long when the procedure is normally done), Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA) suddenly announced he didn't like the idea so much. Out of the blue, he decided that the invasive procedure, which some people have said is akin to rape, was not a good idea. Undoubtedly this change of mind came about as he thought about a potential vice presidential debate with Joe Biden in October. McDonnell is widely touted as a potential running mate for Mitt Romney, should Romney finally wrap it up and become the nominee, but support for a law that many women find repugnant would surely diminish his chances for being chosen for the Veep slot. As with Santorum, all an opponent needs is one thing you have done in the past that the current electorate does not like and it becomes the main thrust of his campaign.

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Previous headlines

Feb21 Too Late for a White Knight
Feb21 Another Republican Debate Tomorrow
Feb17 Santorum Leading Romney in Michigan
Feb12 Romney Wins the CPAC Straw Poll
Feb12 Romney Edges Out Paul by 194 Votes in Maine
Feb12 Santorum Leading in Michigan and Nationwide
Feb08 Santorum Wins Big in Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado
Feb05 Romney Wins Nevada Caucuses
Feb05 Republican Primary and Caucus Schedule
Feb04 Romney Expected to Win Big at Nevada Caucuses Today
Feb04 Economy is Improving
Feb01 Romney Wins Decisively in Florida
Jan31 Romney Set to Win Big in Florida
Jan31 Santorum Faces Easy Choice Tomorrow
Jan31 Prediction: Florida Will Win Today
Jan27 Romney Takes Off the Gloves in Final Florida Debate
Jan27 Romney Failed to List Foreign Investments on Legal Form
Jan25 Obama Lays Groundwork for a Populist Campaign in State-of-the-Union Speech
Jan24 Romney Releases 2010 Tax Return
Jan24 Role Reversal in the Debate: Romney Attacks, Gingrich Plays Defense
Jan24 Fred Thompson Endorses Newt Gingrich
Jan22 Gingrich Crushes Romney in South Carolina
Jan20 Perry Drops Out and Endorses Gingrich
Jan20 Gingrich Surging in South Carolina
Jan20 Gingrich's Second Wife Attacks Him
Jan20 Romney Loses His Win in Iowa
Jan20 Romney Reported to Have Millions of Dollars in the Cayman Islands
Jan20 The Final Four Take Off the Gloves in the Last Debate before the South Carolina Primary
Jan17 Hard-Hitting Debate in South Carolina Changes Nothing
Jan16 Huntsman Expected to Drop Out Today and Endorse Romney
Jan16 Why is the Republican Field So Weak?
Jan16 South Carolina Debate Tonight
Jan15 Social Conservatives Agree to Back Santorum
Jan13 Eleventh Commandment Repealed
Jan11 NH: Romney 39%, Paul 23%, Huntsman 17%, Gingrich 9%, Santorum 9%
Jan11 Charlie Cook: Redistricting is Politically Neutral
Jan10 Romney Leads Going into the New Hampshire Primary Today
Jan10 Gingrich Goes Negative in South Carolina
Jan08 Romney Survives Debate Unscathed
Jan08 Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it

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