Santorum Undermines His Main Argument

Rick Santorum might just be as bad at winning as Mitt Romney.

In the days following the former Pennsylvania senator’s big win in Louisiana — which his campaign touted as proof that Santorum can still woo conservatives who won’t resign themselves to Romney — Santorum took a page from his chief rival’s book and made a series of gaffes that overshadowed his primary triumph.

Monday’s campaign news cycle was all about “bullshit”-gate, a controversy over an outburst Santorum made at a New York Times reporter. Cursing at a journalist on camera ensured that the spat became the news, rather than any serious discussion of his viability as a candidate. It also gave critics an easy target for a candidate who espouses conservative family values as a cornerstone of his campaign.

And “bullshit”-gate wasn’t even the biggest gaffe Santorum made since winning the primary.

That came in a Monday in which Santorum turned in his flamethrower badge and effectively gave up his role as anti-Romney insurgent. In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Santorum said he’d be comfortable running as Romney’s running mate.

Ford O’Connell, the GOP strategist who told TPM last week Romney needs to get a handle on his post-victory gaffes if he wants to bring the brutal primary to an end, said Santorum’s VP line makes it much harder for him to keep pushing the case that Republicans need to risk a dangerous brokered convention by supporting him.

“Saying, ‘I will support the nominee’ is the right thing to do,” he said. “But now he wants to stay relevant, and taking those whacks at Romney and then saying, ‘OK, well I’ll be a team player’ kind of undermines his whole argument.”

Read more from Evan McMorris-Santoro at TPM

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published this page in In The News 2012-03-27 08:00:00 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy