Santorum: I can stay in this race and win it

posted at 10:35 am on January 23, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Rick Santorum got a little lost in all the commotion from South Carolina and the surprisingly big win for Newt Gingrich over Mitt Romney. Yesterday, Santorum told Candy Crowley on CNN that he could still compete with the others in Florida and elsewhere, and that if this is a two-man race, then Mitt Romney would shortly be the odd man out:

He may have finished third in the South Carolina primary, but Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum didn’t sound like a loser on Sunday.

While conceding this round to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who bested Santorum by 23 points in Saturday’s Palmetto State voting, the former Pennsylvania senator suggested Gingrich had South Carolina sewn up, and the real contests are still to come. …

Santorum said having three different winners so far dealt a serious blow to any notion that Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, was certain to emerge as the Republican presidential nominee.

In particular, he said the victories by both himself and Gingrich showed that conservatives were flexing their muscles in the primary process.

“This idea that Mitt Romney is not going to be able to be defeated unless conservatives coalesce, well. it’s objectively false,” Santorum told Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. “I said to Newt when I talked to him last night, this may be a two-person race, but the two people may be on the phone together.”

Santorum told Crowley to wait and see what the polling looked like after South Carolina, but so far it’s not been terribly helpful to Santorum. Before Gingrich’s surge, Santorum says, he was in second place — but that was only in one poll (CNN/Time) at 19%, while a number of others had him in third. He’s now trailing badly at 11% in both polls released today, which is good for 3rd in Rasmussen but only 4th in Insider Advantage.  The conservative vote in Florida does appear to be coalescing around Newt Gingrich, at least for the moment.

Santorum will need to continue his arguments against Gingrich from the last debate tonight — hitting him on his record as Speaker, his long support of the same individual mandate at the core of both ObamaCare and RomneyCare, and his explicit support for RomneyCare in 2006.  Santorum has no hope of winning moderates away from Romney, and if he can’t peel off enough conservatives for a significant boomlet in Florida for himself, it’s difficult to see how Santorum’s shoestring campaign can compete much past Florida as the race starts to go to multiple states simultaneously — which will make it difficult for even Gingrich with his new momentum to keep up with Romney.

Politico reports that Santorum sees the need to attack both candidates:

Rick Santorum kicked off his Florida campaign here Sunday by aiming directly at Newt Gingrich.

“It’s great to be glib, but it’s better to be principled,” the former Pennsylvania senator told a crowd of more than 200 standing in a hot parking lot of a strip mall in this town outside Fort Lauderdale. …

“When Newt was speaker of the House, within three years conservatives in the House of Representatives tried to throw him out and in the fourth year they did. Why? Because he wasn’t governing as a conservative!” Santorum said. “He didn’t live up to all of the hype. If you look at what he tried to do and what he accomplished, it just didn’t match with what he said.”

That led to a point-by-point indictment of Gingrich’s record on health care, global warming and his work for Freddie Mac.

“For 20 years, Congressman Gingrich has demanded and encouraged and fought to get a mandate from the federal level – the very thing that the attorney general in this country is fighting for at the Supreme Court,” Santorum said. “Up until last year, Speaker Gingrich supported that mandate.”

You’ll hear more about this in tonight’s debate.


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I want Santorum to stay in because I don’t much like Newt and think there needs to be an alternative. ‘Course, I don’t like Santorum at all either. If we’re all lucky, they will self destruct and perhaps we’ll get a decent nominee (maybe not Romney) after all!

CatoRenasci on January 23, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Zero chance of Gingrich administration. Which is why the “mainstream” media is thrilled at the possibility of Gingrich getting the nomination.

cicerone on January 23, 2012 at 10:44 AM

As former President Reagan would say, “Well, there you go again”….

timberline on January 23, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Ron Paul isn’t a conservative-he’s a Jew-hating, Alex Jones befriending, 9/11 truther supporting, Blame-America-Firster who’s gets endorsements from racists, neo-Nazis, and Holocaust revisionists.

annoyinglittletwerp on January 23, 2012 at 11:01 AM

Well, I don’t agree with EVERYTHING you just said, but I certainly agree a lot of it applies to Ron Paul. And I also agree he is not a conservative. But my point was that Ron Paul, whatever you think of him, is not a right-statist, which is what we were discussing about the others.

Shump on January 23, 2012 at 11:48 AM

I could care less what the mainstream media thinks. ANYBODY can beat Obama this year..why should we settle for a Massachusetts liberal who went to the left of Ted Kennedy?

social-justice on January 23, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Why would we vote for a man who lost to the man who lost to Obama in 2008?” ~~Newt Gingrich (Sorry, Newt, but that is a memorable quote you said. I just couldn’t help myself using it here.)

timberline on January 23, 2012 at 11:49 AM

..GO AWAY, DRYWALL, GO AWAY!

The War Planner on January 23, 2012 at 11:37 AM
—–

You have a photo of Obama in a turban proudly displayed on your blog .
You are an intellectual giant.

Dave Rywall on January 23, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Anyone but Santorum, please! Heck, I’ll vote for Obama first. Honestly, I will. Obama may be a lethal disease, but Santorum is a lobotomy.

Archivarix on January 23, 2012 at 11:59 AM

LunaRick strikes again.

libertarianlunatic on January 23, 2012 at 12:01 PM

I have nothing against Santorum (and I would happily vote for him if he is the nominee) but…

…de-nial ain’t just a river in Egypt (Mark Twain).

If I am wrong please feel free to bring this post back up and club me over the head with it at a later date.

HawaiiLwyr on January 23, 2012 at 12:02 PM

Logus on January 23, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Your list isn’t exactly above board. Even if you travel to near the beginning, Madison was Sec. of State, J.Q.Adams was a senator. Lincoln was indeed only a Rep. but Johnson was a governor and senator. Hayes and Garfield were Army Generals and McKinley was a governor. JFK, LBJ and Nixon were all senators. That great president Ford was a Rep, then VP and G.H.W. Bush was an ambassador and director of CIA.

cartooner on January 23, 2012 at 12:08 PM

I think Santorum hopes to benefit from a backlash to Gingrich. The problem with that is that the people raising the big objection to Gingrich are thoroughly in Romney’s camp.

Sekhmet on January 23, 2012 at 12:15 PM

The fundamental question is should we nominate a liberal, a wildcard, or a conservative? If you answer is the latter, then you should be supporting Santorum.

Newt is clearly a better choice for conservatives then Romney, but he’s advocated a number of liberal positions Romney enacted.

18-1 on January 23, 2012 at 12:21 PM

GO AWAY, DRYWALL, GO AWAY!

The War Planner on January 23, 2012 at 11:37 AM
—–

You have a photo of Obama in a turban proudly displayed on your blog .
You are an intellectual giant.

Dave Rywall on January 23, 2012 at 11:53 AM

…and you probably have…and are, a small tool!

KOOLAID2 on January 23, 2012 at 12:25 PM

There is no reason for Sanitarium to drop out. In 2008 we elected a Muslim fundamentalist, no reason we can’t elect a hard-line Catholic fundamentalist.

CorporatePiggy on January 23, 2012 at 12:32 PM

The fundamental question is should we nominate a liberal, a wildcard, or a conservative? If you answer is the latter, then you should be supporting Santorum.

Newt is clearly a better choice for conservatives then Romney, but he’s advocated a number of liberal positions Romney enacted.

18-1 on January 23, 2012 at 12:21 PM

I like both Santorum and Gingrich, but for very different reasons. I dislike both Santorum and Gingrich, but for very different reasons.

If our primary were held today, I’m not sure which one I’d vote for. But I’m d*mn sure neither Romney nor Paul would get my vote.

Just Sayin on January 23, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Santorum is the only candidate who can beat Newt.

Several polls has shown that Santorum is the primary 2nd choice for Romney voters, while Newt is the primary 2nd choice for Santorum voters.

Simple game theory:

1. If its Newt vs. Romney with Santorum out; Newt wins.
2. If its Newt vs. Santorum with Romney out; Santorum wins.
3. If all three continue the race; Newt wins.

Norwegian on January 23, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Santorum won IA because of the Romney successful attack on Newt. There has never been any excitment about Santorum from the conservative base, it has always been about Newt.
There won’t be any other state like IA where Rick Santorum can win by default (a very conservative caucus State where Romney successfully takes Newt down).

I am fine with Santoru staying in as a policy insurance for Newt but going after Gingrish will only divide the conservative vote hand Romney State after State.

So my advice to Rick is to keep attacking Romney and HOPE for a Newt meltdown along the way. Going after Newt will only help Romney.

jules on January 23, 2012 at 11:14 AM

I wish Santorum would leave the race. From what I’ve seen recently, he intends to go after Newt; thus taking a chance of splitting the conservative vote and helping Romney. Smarten up, Rick!

IndeCon on January 23, 2012 at 1:02 PM

…and you probably have…and are, a small tool!

KOOLAID2 on January 23, 2012 at 12:25 PM

—–

clap for the child everybody

Dave Rywall on January 23, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Santorum is delusional.

Really dude, get a grip.

rickyricardo on January 23, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Well, I don’t agree with EVERYTHING you just said, but I certainly agree a lot of it applies to Ron Paul. And I also agree he is not a conservative. But my point was that Ron Paul, whatever you think of him, is not a right-statist, which is what we were discussing about the others.

Shump on January 23, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Ron Paul is a race-baiting, isolationist libertarian. The race-baiting and the isolationism make him into the Al Sharpton of Libertarianism. He’s only dropped the race-baiting because he can’t get elected advertising it.

As to Santorum, let’s hope that he’s only saying this to keep up the morale of Santorum supporters. If he actually believes this, he’s delusional.

Gladtobehere on January 23, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Ed, as good as you are, you still want to disparage and dismiss Ron Paul. You are going to look like a fool in the fall when he is at his strongest. Just keep pretending he’s not a major player. With or without the nomination Ron Paul will have massive influence over the direction this country is going. You need our delegates and they will come at a VERY heavy price. You JUST DON’T GET IT…..

standupandbecounted on January 23, 2012 at 2:02 PM

1. If its Newt vs. Romney with Santorum out; Newt wins.
2. If its Newt vs. Santorum with Romney out; Santorum wins.
3. If all three continue the race; Newt wins.

Norwegian on January 23, 2012 at 12:52 PM

If Santorum can stay in past Florida. If he gets the 11% he’s polling then he won’t be able to raise any money.

BoxHead1 on January 23, 2012 at 2:09 PM

clap for the child everybody

Dave Rywall on January 23, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Alright, sure thing. I’m clapping for you, drywall. Do you want your milk and cookies now?

John Hitchcock on January 23, 2012 at 2:15 PM

standupandbecounted on January 23, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Nah, Ron Paulnut is being written off for the xenophobic, anti-Zionist, fringe crank that he is. His minimal delegate count won’t mean much of anything.

John Hitchcock on January 23, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Just keep pretending he’s not a major player.

Who is pretending, lol?

Ed, as good as you are, you still want to disparage and dismiss Ron Paul. You are going to look like a fool in the fall when he is at his strongest.

Oooh, what’s he going to do, endorse Cynthia McKinney again?

xblade on January 23, 2012 at 2:30 PM

people may just see that the stable, sensible Santorum is the best bet in a real campaign. Finally, I can’t believe in the improvement in Santorum as this campaign has gone on. He is much more fluid, clear and pointed in his comments and knowledgeable on the issues. Yet he maintains, at least as I see it, a decency and honesty in how he is conducting the campaign. As he and his wonderful family come to the fore I think people may begin to see him as presidential. I find myself liking him very much.

Blaise on January 23, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Stable, sensible Santorum should appeal to the same voters as Romney, except the strong pro-life and social issues scare them off. Santorum is a candidate with a tiny base, who would overwhelmingly lose the general election based on the social issues. The American public won’t stand for a candidate who’ll restrict birth control for adults. While that was the generally accepted view pre-1960′s, only a small minority, mostly more conservative Catholics, would support it now. I’m not saying that you’re morally wrong. But Santorum is not electable within the Republican party, let alone the general election.

Gladtobehere on January 23, 2012 at 2:31 PM

You’ve gotta admire Sen. Santorum’s enthusiasm; however, another third place finish (and…according to the polls, that’s where he’ll finish in Florida barring a last-minute miracle) and his fate will essentially be decided for him. You just can’t raise the substantial money needed to run an effective campaign when you finish no higher than third.

jfs756 on January 23, 2012 at 2:37 PM

You Ron Paul deniers are really going to expose yourselves as clueless this fall. Ron Paul taking half the delegates is not small. You will honor respect Ron Paul, you will give us what we want. Or you will lose./

standupandbecounted on January 23, 2012 at 2:46 PM

You Ron Paul deniers are really going to expose yourselves as clueless this fall. Ron Paul taking half the delegates is not small. You will honor respect Ron Paul, you will give us what we want. Or you will lose./

standupandbecounted on January 23, 2012 at 2:46 PM

The Republican party is about to be taken hostage by Ron Paul. We must show respect by kissing the ring of Don Paul (remember the Godfather). We must give them what they want, which is what exactly? Abolish the Federal Reserve? Install Alex Jones as head of the FBI? Invade Israel? Who knows what lies in the hearts of the followers of Don Paul?

Gladtobehere on January 23, 2012 at 3:01 PM

you will give us what we tell you to give us. get ready to grovel.

standupandbecounted on January 23, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Stable, sensible Santorum should appeal to the same voters as Romney, except the strong pro-life and social issues scare them off. Santorum is a candidate with a tiny base, who would overwhelmingly lose the general election based on the social issues. The American public won’t stand for a candidate who’ll restrict birth control for adults. While that was the generally accepted view pre-1960′s, only a small minority, mostly more conservative Catholics, would support it now. I’m not saying that you’re morally wrong. But Santorum is not electable within the Republican party, let alone the general election.

Gladtobehere on January 23, 2012 at 2:31 PM

When exactly has Santorum said he would restrict birth control for adults? I’d like to see that quote.

Shump on January 23, 2012 at 3:24 PM

I hope nobody draws Santorum in tonight’s drinking game. If you have to take a shot for every time he says “I”, you’ll be on the floor before the debate is done.

Decoski on January 23, 2012 at 4:06 PM

How many homosexual voters do you suppose there are in the country, Rick? And how many of them have at least 10 heterosexual friends? You think you’ll get any of those votes? Not so good at math, are you?

Constantine on January 23, 2012 at 4:21 PM

All presidential candidates have to be somewhat nuts, but Santorum has to really nuts if he thinks he will be the nominee.

SC.Charlie on January 23, 2012 at 6:31 PM

When exactly has Santorum said he would restrict birth control for adults? I’d like to see that quote.

Shump on January 23, 2012 at 3:24 PM

What Santorum said is that he believes the Supreme Court decisions overturning restrictions on birth control and sodomy were badly decided. States should have the right to restrict birth control and sodomy, but that he personally thinks that birth control should be legal, although I’m not sure what he believes about sodomy. To me this is like someone saying that Roe vs. Wade was decided wrong, but they still support the right to an abortion. Huh? Maybe a college professor might say that, not a politician. Substitute birth control for abortion, which Santorum does, and you’ll see why I think Santorum would like to see restrictions on birth control.

I can give you another analogy using abortion. Some Catholic politicians use the weasel logic of saying they personally oppose abortion, but it’s the law of the land so it must be supported. You know they agree with the principle of abortion, but they’re trying not to alienate some voters by clearly saying it. They hide behind the law because they can’t reveal their real position.

To me Santorum is following the same shifty logic, not revealing his real position but instead of supporting the law, he attacks it: He’d like restrictive birth control practices but just can’t say it. So he attacks the Supreme Court decisions that got rid of state restrictions on birth control, even though there are many Supreme Court decisions that have overturned state laws that he’s not bothered about.

If Santorum was a consistent supporter of states rights, I wouldn’t take this position, but he’s not. Again, I think he’s trying to have it both ways: signalling Catholics that he’s a strong Catholic who’s against birth control, while not trying to alarm other voters.

Gladtobehere on January 23, 2012 at 6:54 PM

“What Santorum said is that he believes the Supreme Court decisions overturning restrictions on birth control and sodomy were badly decided. States should have the right to restrict birth control and sodomy, but that he personally thinks that birth control should be legal, although I’m not sure what he believes about sodomy. To me this is like someone saying that Roe vs. Wade was decided wrong, but they still support the right to an abortion. Huh? Maybe a college professor might say that, not a politician. Substitute birth control for abortion, which Santorum does, and you’ll see why I think Santorum would like to see restrictions on birth control.”

Like Santorum, I am a traditional Catholic, but blessed with only six children. If anyone adheres to a consistent set of principles, he is likely to find issues on which he is out of step with the world as a whole. He knows as well as everyone that his views on contraception (and mine) are in that category relative to the American norm circa 2012. Catholic teaching does not demand tilting at windmills, and Santorum won’t do it. I hope that honesty in stating his position will resonate with most of that large part of the public that has a different view, and that his degree of personal integrity will prove attractive.

But I have my doubts. My heart is with Santorum, but I may end up voting for Romney.

Ronald Wallenfang on January 23, 2012 at 8:02 PM

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