So much for the “non-aggression pact”

posted at 11:00 am on February 3, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

A month ago, Newt Gingrich floated the idea of an alliance with Rick Santorum to defeat Mitt Romney for the nomination.  He didn’t exactly specify who would be the leader of that alliance when he floated the notion to Laura Ingraham, but Santorum certainly didn’t get lulled into the idea that he would shortly get an endorsement from Gingrich — nor did he demand one, along with an exit from the race.  Gingrich has demanded the latter, at the very least, from Santorum — and as Robert Costa reports, it’s getting mighty testy in the “alliance” these days:

Tensions between the Santorum and Gingrich camps are growing. Santorum advisers are irked at Gingrich’s public attempts to nudge their candidate out of the race; Gingrich aides are frustrated by Santorum’s quixotic determination, his unwillingness to cede the anti-establishment mantle.

Earlier this week, in a Fox News interview, Gingrich verbalized his inner circle’s agitation. “The longer conservatives stay split, the harder it’s going to be for us to [beat Romney],” he said. “We risk not being able to beat Obama unless we get a conservative. I have to win the nomination.”

Santorum confidants chuckle at Gingrich’s declaration. “Gingrich’s stock is falling, and we’re picking up a lot of his people,” says John Brabender, Santorum’s senior strategist. “People know that we need an alternative to Mitt Romney. But Gingrich had his shot in Florida, and he failed.”

And  it’s getting personal.  Gingrich made that demand at the same time that Santorum and his family were still dealing with his daughter Bella’s health crisis.  That has infuriated Santorum’s staff, especially since only one of Santorum’s competitors failed to call and offer his best wishes during that crisis:

The timing of Gingrich’s comments — they came around the time Santorum was tending to Bella, his hospitalized daughter — inflamed the fractious relations between the two campaigns. “The mere fact that he was doing it smells of political opportunism and people found it problematic and troubling,” Brabender says.

“Beyond that, I won’t talk about Gingrich,” Brabender says. “I will compliment Governor Romney and Congressman Paul. Their campaigns personally reached out to us [regarding Bella]. None of that was expected, so I won’t criticize anybody for not doing it. But that was very sincere and gratifying.”

Costa’s sources on Team Gingrich apparently admitted that Gingrich made a mistake on timing that demand, and now say that they don’t expect Gingrich to make further demands … at least not publicly.  Surrogates for Gingrich will start reaching to Santorum’s surrogates to put some pressure on the Senator to get out of Gingrich’s way and turn this into a two-man race.  So far, though, Santorum’s team says that no one’s telling them to get out — at all:

Nevertheless, Santorum sources say the raw wound between the pair is unlikely to heal, even if Gingrich backs off. “We’re not getting calls from big conservatives,” says one Santorum source. “That’s not happening at all. Many Republicans don’t want Mitt to be the nominee. They also know that Gingrich can’t beat Mitt. They’re waiting to see if we can make a move in February.”

Besides, there is a very real question as to whether Gingrich would get Santorum’s voters anyway.  One way to measure potential upside is through favorability ratings, and those show that Gingrich has a lot less upside than Santorum.  Gingrich’s favorability in states like Nevada and Arizona are very low, even among Republicans.  As noted earlier, Santorum beats Gingrich as a second choice in Nevada 30/16, with Romney at 13, which makes more of an argument for Gingrich’s withdrawal.  In Missouri and Ohio, two key Republican states, PPP shows Santorum beating Romney head to head, not Gingrich:

-In Missouri Santorum leads Romney 50-37 and in Ohio Santorum leads 45-38.

-In Missouri Gingrich leads Romney 43-42 and in Ohio Gingrich leads 42-39.

Two takeaways from those numbers: if this ever came down to Romney, Paul, and just one out of Gingrich and Santorum, Romney would be in a lot of trouble. And he’d be in more trouble if the single conservative alternative ended up being Santorum.

Based on the limited polling for second choices (only PPP regularly asks the question), it’s not definitive which candidate would benefit more from the absence of the other, but it’s even less clear that the absence of Santorum would block Romney from winning the nomination.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

it’s very irritating that gingrich keeps blaming santorum on why he doesn’t have more votes. instead of blaming himself and his own mistakes he puts blame on santorum and wants him out of the race. hey gingrich, why don’t you work on improving yourself, instead of worrying about what santorum’s doing.

Sachiko on February 3, 2012 at 12:51 PM

You say, “I was a Perry supporter, but now the only choices I have left are Newt and Ron Paul and Ron Paul’s looking better every day.” In light of your grave concerns about what the BuzzFeed article says, and how things would look if disparaging things were said about minorities, I might ask your feelings about Ron Paul’s newsletters?

acasilaco on February 3, 2012 at 12:43 PM

The staffer is still on the Santorum payroll. He’s not former from what that article states.

As for Paul, I think it’s horrible. I believe Ron Paul knew exactly what was in those newsletters.

And if I’m really going to be honest, I think the gig is up. I think Romney has so much money that he’s got this nomination in the bag. I’ve stated before that your average voter doesn’t keep up with this stuff like people on Hot Air and other sites. All they know about the candidates is what they see on tv and when they’re being bombarded with mail, calls, and television commercials making one particular candidate look like the best candidate and hearing nothing but negative propoganda on the other candidates, that’s who they’ll vote for.

It’s sad, but it’s the nature of the political process. Frankly, I would not be opposed to a set spending limit being placed on all Presidential candidates and not allowing any outside advertising in Presidential campaigns (such as PACs) so the playing field would be leveled.

When one candidate is able to spend $100 Million in a campaign and his closest competitor is only able to spend $10 Million, the one with $100 Million will win 99% of the time.

tnmama on February 3, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Brokered convention? So the republican establishment can foist another chosen rino/moderate on us? Naw, I don’t trust them.

IndeCon on February 3, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Well how’s that invisible primary process workin out for ya, Boss?

gryphon202 on February 3, 2012 at 1:11 PM

tnmama on February 3, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Pretzel logic at its finest. I’m gobsmacked by how many American voters seem willing, nay eager, to be duped by the LSM.

gryphon202 on February 3, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Santorum is against Right to Work laws like the one just passed in Indiana..

And if you want to know how the attack would go on Santorum if he were the nominee, look at the reaction to the Koman decision on PP…

That would be small compared to the attacks he would see.

Santorum lost his senate seat for a good reason, he is a bad candidate and a jerk. Clearly he is going after the VP nomination ,why else would he attack Newt and not Romney.

georgealbert on February 3, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Both of them need to drop out and get behind Romney.

Punchenko on February 3, 2012 at 11:05 AM

..hope you’re donning your asbestos underwear in preparation for the flame thrower attack.

The War Planner on February 3, 2012 at 1:19 PM

And if I’m really going to be honest, I think the gig is up. I think Romney has so much money that he’s got this nomination in the bag. I’ve stated before that your average voter doesn’t keep up with this stuff like people on Hot Air and other sites. All they know about the candidates is what they see on tv and when they’re being bombarded with mail, calls, and television commercials making one particular candidate look like the best candidate and hearing nothing but negative propoganda on the other candidates, that’s who they’ll vote for.

It’s sad, but it’s the nature of the political process. Frankly, I would not be opposed to a set spending limit being placed on all Presidential candidates and not allowing any outside advertising in Presidential campaigns (such as PACs) so the playing field would be leveled.

When one candidate is able to spend $100 Million in a campaign and his closest competitor is only able to spend $10 Million, the one with $100 Million will win 99% of the time.

tnmama on February 3, 2012 at 1:01 PM

I agree. New election rules need to be enacted. Buying an election should not be an option for any candidate.

IndeCon on February 3, 2012 at 1:19 PM

I could give a rats hide if Newt did or didn’t reach out to Santorum’s Daughter or whether he has marriage problems.

In geveral, I agree that a candidate’s personality is not particularly relevant to whether or not s/he will make a good leader. But, in Gingrich’s case, time after time, we see this sort of self-involved behavior coupled with vindictiveness and anger. In my opinion, he is not temperamentally suited to leadership, and the vast majority of congressmen who served under his leadership agree.

Priscilla on February 3, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Axelrod and Obama have angels and gods on their side.

Schadenfreude on February 3, 2012 at 1:22 PM

I agree. New election rules need to be enacted. Buying an election should not be an option for any candidate.

IndeCon on February 3, 2012 at 1:19 PM

At least normative thinking is a step away from pretzel logic. How would you propose we go about making those changes since McCain-Feingold has apparently utterly failed at that attempt?

gryphon202 on February 3, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Santorum lost his senate seat for a good reason, he is a bad candidate and a jerk.

georgealbert on February 3, 2012 at 1:15 PM

That intimates that we have a good candidate running. We don’t.

gryphon202 on February 3, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Santorum is against Right to Work laws like the one just passed in Indiana..

And if you want to know how the attack would go on Santorum if he were the nominee, look at the reaction to the Koman decision on PP…

That would be small compared to the attacks he would see.

Santorum lost his senate seat for a good reason, he is a bad candidate and a jerk. Clearly he is going after the VP nomination ,why else would he attack Newt and not Romney.

georgealbert on February 3, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Ah, the oh so coveted VP slot. I’m disappointed in Rick Santorum; I think you might be right. Of course he’s attacking Newt to benefit Romney.

IndeCon on February 3, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Santorum is against Right to Work laws like the one just passed in Indiana..

And if you want to know how the attack would go on Santorum if he were the nominee, look at the reaction to the Koman decision on PP…

That would be small compared to the attacks he would see.

Santorum lost his senate seat for a good reason, he is a bad candidate and a jerk. Clearly he is going after the VP nomination ,why else would he attack Newt and not Romney.

georgealbert on February 3, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Not so. Santorum voted against the national Right to Work law while he was representing PA because it was a union state and he wasn’t going to vote against his state. He has stated at multiple debates that now he is free of representing just the state of PA he would whole-heartedly support Right to Work nationally. Just correcting the record. :)

He is attacking Newt because he wants to be the alternative to Romney in the race. A better question would be why isn’t Ron Paul attacking Romney?

KickandSwimMom on February 3, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Sachiko on February 3, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Nice! Kind of like, “Oh, look! Everybody’s out of step but me Newtie!”

Gingrich has been a huge failure as a candidate in so many ways that it is difficult to keep current. But most of all, it is because he turns into a whiny baby every time something doesn’t go his way.

I think he should be featured in that Snickers commercial with RoseAnne Barr instead of Richard Lewis.

To hear Newt tell it, he’s always the victim! Eat a Snickers, Newt, and give it a rest! We are sick of it.

Sheeesh . . . just what we need . . . another completely self-absorbed schemer who whines whenever it doesn’t go his way!

Trochilus on February 3, 2012 at 1:33 PM

I’m gobsmacked by how many American voters seem willing, nay eager, to be duped by the LSM.

gryphon202 on February 3, 2012 at 1:12 PM

As were most when a certain non-candidate was playing games with a candidacy.

csdeven on February 3, 2012 at 1:40 PM

After tomorrow Newt Gingrich will purchase some Mitt Romney PJ’s.

csdeven on February 3, 2012 at 1:43 PM

What Priscilla said. Most women see the truth about Gingrich.

Of course HA is dominated by a bunch of angry, middle-aged white guys who think an angry, old white guy is The Answer.

Gingrich is a self-absorbed a-hole. Like Obama, his main agenda would be getting himself on Mt. Rushmore. He wouldn’t be an effective leader. He WASN’T an effective leader as Speaker. So say those in a position to know.

Romney is always blasted here because people perceive that he thinks he deserves the nomination. Next in line and all that. No need to perceive anything with Newtie. He just comes right out and says he should be the candidate, and treats Santorum like something the cat dragged in. Even when his daughter is in the hospital.

And enough with the “Romney is buying the election” garbage. If Newt had the same level of financial support from donors who believe in his candidacy, he’d be throwing around the cash, too.

What a hypocrite. What a thoroughly despicable man. No wonder 60% of the country dislikes him.

But he’s sure to trounce Obama, right?

Meredith on February 3, 2012 at 1:45 PM

I will be an AZ Santorum voter. Second choice = Romney.

Gingrich is a deceitful tool and will NEVER receive my support. His measure has been collected.

exdeadhead on February 3, 2012 at 1:54 PM

To the women on here who say that Santorum is a sexist and does not respect women; OMG.
His wife Karen is a nurse and attorney. Is it because she chose to stay home and raise her seven children that you think he is a sexist? In the last debate, Rick said that his wife Karen was his HERO, and talked about how much she meant to him, how great a mother and she was and how accomplished she was.

Newt, on the other hand, is an admitted adulterer and left two wives when they were diagnosed with serious illness. To this day, he lies about his past and his two wives. Is he someone who respects women?

fight like a girl on February 3, 2012 at 1:57 PM

The timing of Gingrich’s comments — they came around the time Santorum was tending to Bella, his hospitalized daughter — inflamed the fractious relations between the two campaigns.

Newt Gingrich is a weasel of the most vicious sort. He will stab ANYONE in the back, even members of his own party if he believes it will benefit Newt. Newt is out for Newt and Newt only. He’s a whining, lying, cheating, backstabbing, weasel that I do not want representing me as President of the United States.

crosspatch on February 3, 2012 at 2:20 PM

And it’s getting personal. Gingrich made that demand at the same time that Santorum and his family were still dealing with his daughter Bella’s health crisis. That has infuriated Santorum’s staff, especially since only one of Santorum’s competitors failed to call and offer his best wishes during that crisis.

Hey, how’s that “vetting” working out for you now, Sarah Palinsky?

Buy Danish on February 3, 2012 at 3:41 PM

Go to the BuzzFeed article where a Bachmann campaign staffer demands an apology from the Santorum campaign for their misogyny. He has never responded and come out publicly saying he disagrees with the sentiments in these emails and the man who wrote them is still on his staff.

Now, go back and read the article and replace any reference of woman or female with the word “black.” Do any of you think for a second that he wouldn’t be out claiming he and his campaign are not racist and apologizing for this? Would that person still be working on his campaign?

This is just as bad and if you think the Clinton PUMA’s would vote for him (even in a VP slot), or women born after 1960, then I’ve got some great oceanfront property here in TN I’m sure you’d be interested in.

I was a Perry supporter, but now the only choices I have left are Newt and Ron Paul and Ron Paul’s looking better every day.

tnmama on February 3, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Oh look! Aslan’s Girl is back. Just her style – instead of saying why we should vote for someone, say as many nasty things as possible about the opposition.

Bummer.

If you aren’t AG, then you certainly picked up her more ugly habits and either way we’re the losers.

kim roy on February 3, 2012 at 4:05 PM

And it’s getting personal. Gingrich made that demand at the same time that Santorum and his family were still dealing with his daughter Bella’s health crisis. That has infuriated Santorum’s staff, especially since only one of Santorum’s competitors failed to call and offer his best wishes during that crisis.

Hey, how’s that “vetting” working out for you now, Sarah Palinsky?

Buy Danish on February 3, 2012 at 3:41 PM

How’s it not working? We’re getting more evidence that Romney has a fetish for sticking his foot in his mouth and we find out more how terrible Gingrich is.

Or would you rather pretend these two are more than they are until the Dems fix that for you in September/October?

It’s not like we have a candidate who’s been completely vetted in the media and there’s nothing left to say, do we? KOFFKOFF

kim roy on February 3, 2012 at 4:08 PM

What Priscilla said. Most women see the truth about Gingrich.

Of course HA is dominated by a bunch of angry, middle-aged white guys who think an angry, old white guy is The Answer.

Gingrich is a self-absorbed a-hole. Like Obama, his main agenda would be getting himself on Mt. Rushmore. He wouldn’t be an effective leader. He WASN’T an effective leader as Speaker. So say those in a position to know.

Romney is always blasted here because people perceive that he thinks he deserves the nomination. Next in line and all that. No need to perceive anything with Newtie. He just comes right out and says he should be the candidate, and treats Santorum like something the cat dragged in. Even when his daughter is in the hospital.

And enough with the “Romney is buying the election” garbage. If Newt had the same level of financial support from donors who believe in his candidacy, he’d be throwing around the cash, too.

What a hypocrite. What a thoroughly despicable man. No wonder 60% of the country dislikes him.

But he’s sure to trounce Obama, right?

Meredith on February 3, 2012 at 1:45 PM

I think at this point a lot of people don’t care if he eats kittens or kicks his dog or cheats on his wife. Can he balance the budget and stand up to Imadinnerjacket?

But you go ahead and blame it on the Ugly Old White Man rather than the actual problem – Romney hasn’t convinced anyone he can do either of the above.

But he sure has nice hair, is pleasant and has been patient, hasn’t he? Heard he speaks French, too!

If Romney ever gets around to giving a strong, convincing vision of what he wants to do and how he’ll deal with foreign issues, then you’ll probably see a lot less of Ugly Old White Man complaints.

Personally, and I’m not an Ugly Old White Man, but rather an Ugly Middle Aged Mixed Woman, I think the first time the race card gets seriously played against Romney he’ll go lay under the desk in a fetal position. I don’t think he’s up to this. Convince me differently.

On the other hand, I don’t think Gingrich is either.

I don’t think I’m alone.

kim roy on February 3, 2012 at 4:20 PM

kim roy on February 3, 2012 at 4:08 PM

Better someone who makes an occasional gaffe than a hopelessly arrogant, rude s.o.b. who lacks all common courtesy. But hey, I’m sure Palin is soooh proud of her man Newt!

Buy Danish on February 3, 2012 at 4:29 PM

He’s a whining, lying, cheating, backstabbing, weasel that I do not want representing me as President of the United States.

You’ve just described every politician since the Civil War.

The “my candidates sh*t don’t stink” phenomenon is quite entertaining to watch. NONE of them got to Washington without a healthy ego, greasing a few palms, and stealing a few baby’s lollipops.

gravityman on February 3, 2012 at 5:21 PM

I don’t think I’m alone.

kim roy on February 3, 2012 at 4:20 PM

No, you’re not alone. I’m sure there are, lets say 5 million people who don’t care. That would be 5 million people that are as corrupt as he is. Fortunately for this country, 295 million people aren’t as corrupt as he is.

csdeven on February 3, 2012 at 5:29 PM

I don’t think I’m alone.

kim roy on February 3, 2012 at 4:20 PM

No, you’re not alone. I’m sure there are, lets say 5 million people who don’t care. That would be 5 million people that are as corrupt as he is. Fortunately for this country, 295 million people aren’t as corrupt as he is.

csdeven on February 3, 2012 at 5:29 PM

Hey! Let’s have some context here so we can see how dishonest csdeven is being!!

This is what I don’t think I’m alone for:

I don’t think **he’s up to this. Convince me differently.

On the other hand, I don’t think Gingrich is either.

I don’t think I’m alone.

**he being Romney

Wow! That makes your response nonsensical to what I actually said. How about that?

kim roy on February 3, 2012 at 11:10 PM

Comment pages: 1 2