So, Rick Santorum went a little nuts today because apparently he believes the media is misconstruing his comments regarding Romney vs. Obama. The comment seem to be pretty straightforward to me.
On Thursday, Santorum made news for saying:
“If they’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk of what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate for the future.”
Santorum was referring to Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom’s comment Wednesday that “everything changes” for the fall campaign:
“It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch,” he said on CNN. “You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again.”
Santorum’s response has stirred up quite a bit of controversy and drawn criticism from fellow presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.
Santorum appeared just a few minutes ago on Neil Cavuto’s show and had this to say (video courtesy of The Hill):
Pretty much everyone agrees: Newt Gingrich must win Mississippi & Alabama to move forward as a presidential candidate. 2 new polls show Gingrich surging to the lead in both states.
From Rasmussen Reports:
The first Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Republican Primary Voters in Alabama finds Newt Gingrich barely ahead with 30% support to 29% for Rick Santorum and 28% for Mitt Romney. Texas Congressman Ron Paul trails with seven percent (7%) of the vote. One percent (1%) prefers some other candidate, and six percent (6%) remain undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
From American Research Group:
Newt Gingrich leads the Mississippi Republican presidential primary with 35%. Gingrich is followed by Mitt Romney with 31%, Rick Santorum with 20%, and Ron Paul with 7%.
This is very exciting news for idea-oriented activists.
We are obviously not to the finish line yet, and Newt should brace himself for on onslaught of negative, misleading attacks from Romney over the next 4 days. But if Newt can hold on and win both of these states, this process continues and Lazarus will have once again risen from the political dead.
After the shock of last night’s three Republican contests wore off a little bit today, I had a rather intense argument with a friend who happens to be a Romney supporter. (In case you missed it: Rick Santorum swept, winning Minnesota, Colorado, and Missouri.) The conversation started with him telling me “Romney didn’t win any states last night because he didn’t try.” Or something like that. His argument was basically that Romney could have competed–and won–any or all of the three states up for grabs last night, if he had wanted to, but he decided not to spend the money.
I told my friend, if Mitt Romney wants to be the Republican nominee, he had better be prepared to leave it all on the field. We can’t have any of this “Well, I could’ve competed in [insert swing state], but I decided not to.” If we have any chance of beating Obama, we must have a fighter; someone who will fight for every vote. (To those who say, ‘that would never happen,’ recall in 2008 when Romney pundit John McCain essentially conceded Michigan to Obama.)
My friend then rebutted by telling me Gingrich did the same thing, essentially punting on yesterday’s primaries. The key difference is that Gingrich has nowhere near Romney’s resources, nor has he been marked ‘the inevitable candidate.’ Gingrich made a strategic decision to place his chips elsewhere in order to extend his campaign. Romney could have easily competed in all three states and still had enough money to advance. But he didn’t. And he chose poorly. Instead of Romney pulling away from the pack and advancing his ‘inevitability’ argument, Rick Santorum is the story, and Romney’s inevitability is fading.
Santorum beat Romney by nearly 30% in Minnesota, by the way–where Romney has been heralding support from the state’s former governor Tim Pawlenty. He finished third, behind Ron Paul.
So do I think that Santorum is a legitimate threat to Romney? Maybe. Do I think Romney is beatable? Absolutely. Whether it is Santorum or Gingrich, it is clear that Romney can be defeated. The question will be how long the field remains at four, and can one of these candidates overtake Romney once and for all with three Romney alternatives in the race?
The bottom line is this: Romney is anything but inevitable and his supporters know it, otherwise they wouldn’t be spinning so hard in his favor. That’s not to say he is not still formidable–Santorum is about to be absolutely assaulted with attack ads from Romney & his PAC–but he still has a long road to the nomination. After getting trounced in South Carolina by Gingrich, Romney was starting to rebuild some steam, coming off key victories in Florida & Nevada. But Santorum’s trifecta on Tuesday night has put the brakes on Romney’s train once again.
Romney just can’t seem to break away from the pack, and every time he loses a contest, his perceived destiny as the GOP nominee seems less likely. Last night may have been the end of inevitability.
I saw the following video clip earlier on one of the networks and just had to post it. Despite what Romney says, Newt did work closely with Reagan, and Nancy Reagan says Ronnie recognized Newt as the torch/standard bearer for the conservative movement.
In fact, an article from The American Spectator, written by former Reagan top aide Jeffery Lord, reported that Reagan told Newt, “Well, some things you’re just going to have to do after I’m gone.”
Now comes this video of Nancy Reagan saying:
The dramatic movement of 1995 is an outgrowth of a much earlier crusade that goes back half a century. Barry Goldwater handed the torch to Ronnie, and in turn Ronnie turned that torch over to Newt and the Republican members of Congress to keep that dream alive.
Meanwhile, Romney was busy repudiating Reagan/Bush, telling Ted Kennedy & Massachusetts voters that he had no interest in taking the country back to Reagan-era policies.
I reported earlier on a new Insider Advantage poll that shows Newt Gingrich taking a three-point lead over Mitt Romney in South Carolina. Digging into the numbers a bit deeper, we see some interesting trends–that just so happen to fly in the face of the ‘conventional wisdom’ being regurgitated in the media.
Among Democrats that were polled:
- Gingrich: 46.8%
- Paul: 28.4%
- Romney: 2.7%
- Gingrich: 32.7%
- Paul: 26.2%
- Romney: 15.4%
These numbers demonstrate a trend that is continuing (we saw it in Iowa as well): despite all of the ‘electabilty’ and ‘appealing to moderates’ talk that we hear about Romney, he consistently polls near the bottom amongst independents & Democrats.
Maybe he is not the most electable after all?