Santorum, Romney To Face Off In High-Stakes Appeal To Party Faithful

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum will appear in the same venue Friday for the first time since Santorum handed Romney a three-pronged defeat earlier in the week.

Both will be competing for the support of the same cluster of die-hard conservatives — more than 10,000 in total — who have amassed for the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.

Addressing the annual convention of party faithful is a rite of passage for presidential candidates, but for Santorum and Romney, the stakes are much higher.

Still reeling from his bruising Tuesday loss to Santorum in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri, Romney must convince activists he’s the bona fide conservative he claims to be. For Santorum, the challenge is to win over those whose doubts about his electability against President Obama make them reluctant to bet on a losing horse.

“Romney needs a big idea to rally folks around,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “Mitt Romney is the most electable, but he hasn’t given anyone in the base or independents any reason to vote for him. That’s why he needs that big idea. ‘Believe in America’ just ain’t going to cut it.”

Read more from Josh Lederman and Cameron Joseph at The Hill

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published this page in In The News 2012-02-09 20:00:00 -0500
Analysis & Political Strategy