I’m actually a bit surprised by ABC News’ headline on this fun but provocative interview with Rick Santorum. They feature Santorum’s observation that Mitt Romney can’t afford to pick a pro-choice running mate, a rather obvious point, considering the need to fire up the base in this election — and the dearth of pro-choice Republicans. Santorum even points out that it would play as well with Republicans as a pro-life VP would with Democrats. The meat of the interview came in Santorum’s observations of Barack Obama, whom he accused of acting “like a two-bit dictator” in his rollback of welfare reform by diktat, with Jonathan Karl saying at one point that Santorum had compared Obama to Mussolini:

Santorum wants presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney to win the White House because President Obama, he says, is abusing his power. Case in point, according to the former Pennsylvania senator, is the recent change to welfare reform giving states more flexibility to waive work requirements.

Welfare reform was “something that we fought for, President Clinton signed in 1996 right before the election. Huge transformation of the welfare rolls, dramatic reductions, increases in employment, reductions in poverty, a transformation of welfare, probably the single greatest accomplishment, social welfare-wise, in the last 20 years. And President Obama gets up and says, ‘Nope I’m going to change the law, by speaking,’ ” says Santorum.

“This sounds like a two-bit dictator, not a President of the United States.”

Santorum piled on the fiery comments, comparing Obama to Italy’s former dictator Benito Mussolini and urging Romney to attack Obama’s “imperial presidency” on the stump.

Santorum is absolutely correct that Romney needs to hit Obama hard on his governance through declaration rather than law, and his reliance on waivers to make end-runs around Congressionally-approved statutes. It’s relatively easy to tie that into the economic message to which Romney and his team want to adhere. Point out that all of these diktats create massive ambiguities that discourage investors by making it impossible for capital holders to price future costs of their investments. That’s especially true in ObamaCare, and Romney has talked about that aspect on the stump regularly.

If Karl is going to do more interviews from bowling alleys, though, he’d better step up his game a bit — and so should Santorum. A 125-109 match should have both buying the drinks. I’d come out there and show the both how it’s done, but this sciatica takes at least 50 points off my game …