Mitt’s Big Guns Now Trained On Santorum

Newt can take a breather. Now that Santorum is rising in the polls, (leading Mitt in MN, and the only candidate beating Obama in a head to head match-up), Romney is aiming his fire at Rick Santorum’s weak spots. There are a few, and Santorum is going to have to know how to respond without sounding whiny and defensive if he wants to retain his slim lead in Minnesota.

The Weekly Standard reports:

In a Sunday press release slugged RICK SANTORUM: PROUD DEFENDER OF EARMARKS AND PORK-BARREL SPENDING,” the Romney oppo shop dumped a list of 18 news items (dating back to 2003) trying to paint Santorum as a free spendin’, Big Government-lovin’, flip-flopper.

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Update (9:47 a.m.): Two more Romney attacks on Santorum have gone out this morning. The first is a “Summary of Santorum’s False Attacks on Massachusettes Health Care” (Romneycare worked great and is nothing like Obamacare!) and the second is a notice that the Romney campaign has scheduled its first conference call with the press to attack Santorum–at noon today Tim Pawlenty will talk about “Santorum’s Long History of Pork-Barrel Spending.”

Santorum is also leading in Missouri, ahead of its toothless primary, this Tuesday, but a big win could add to his momentum:

According to Katrina Trinko at NRO, Missouri is Santorum’s last stand:

If Santorum does win Missouri, the challenge will be for him to present it as a meaningful win. The reason the primary has nothing to do with choosing delegates is that in 2010 the Republican National Committee required certain states, including Missouri, not to select their delegates before March. Last year the Republican legislature passed a bill that would have moved the primary from February to March, but Democratic governor Jay Nixon vetoed it (not because of the primary-date switch, he said, but because of other provisions in the bill).

So the party switched to caucuses, which do not require legislative sanction, and scheduled them for March. But a bill to eliminate the February primary failed on a tie vote, and the result was that Missouri taxpayers are being forced to fund a $7 million election that is essentially a state-run opinion poll.

Missouri politicos doubt that the caucus results will mirror the primary results, or that there will even be any attempt to make them do so. Six weeks is an eon in this primary cycle, and some of the candidates may have dropped out by then. Even if they all remain in the race, the fact that caucusgoers can support Gingrich is sure to affect the final results.

But for Santorum, struggling to make the case that he’s a more viable not-Romney candidate than Gingrich, Missouri still offers a valuable opportunity.

“When we go head to head with Governor Romney, we can beat him,” Santorum said in Missouri on Friday, according to NBC News. “When Speaker Gingrich goes head to head with Governor Romney, he can’t.”

“The polls show it,” Santorum added, “and it will show on Tuesday.”

SEE ALSO:

The Other McCain: Ed Morrissey, Phyllis Schlafly, Michelle Malkin, David Limbaugh, Tom Tancredo: Gosh, Everybody’s for Santorum Now!

Santorum will speak Friday morning at CPAC, and his supporters are hoping to get a big boost as the campaign moves forward, with the next debate (Feb. 22 in Arizona) still two weeks away. Finally, while this isn’t quite an angel-wings endorsement, Dan Blatt of Gay Patriot offers some words of respect for Santorum:

Maybe Santorum is doing well because he comes across as a nice guy. He enjoyed that reputation when he served on Capitol Hill.  Although, to be sure, the Senator has said some strange things about gays, he has treated the one member of his staff who has been publicly “outed” as gay with dignity. Indeed, his one-time spokesman Robert Traynham said “was open with Santorum about his sexual orientation” and that he had “never heard Santorum voice an anti-gay or bigoted comment” in the ten years he had worked for him.

Many people disagree with Santorum on issues, but still respect his sincerity and consistency and, like a lot of other Republicans, Dan was disgusted by Newt’s Nevada meltdown.

So we await further developments and who knows? By this time next week, the headlines may be all about the latest Santorum Surge. There was another earthquake in Vanuatu last week. I’m just sayin’ . . .

Michelle Malkin: Santorum’s got game:

The conventional wisdom tells us Mitt and Newt are the only choices in this race. But these most recent polls clearly suggest that Santorum, not Newt, is the strongest conservative alternative. I’ve carefully and candidly laid out the strengths, weaknesses, and best arguments for Santorum. I’m working in my home state of Colorado to spread the message. Ed Morrissey makes his case for Santorum to his fellow Minnesotans and the Right at Hot Air. David Limbaugh did last week. More support from the Right spotlighted here by Stacy McCain.

Is it a long shot? Yes. Is it doable? Yes. There are no inevitabilities in politics.

Santorum’s got game. Strong showings in Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado could bring the fundraising boost he needs. You can help right now right here.

Freedom’s Lighthouse: Rick Santorum Looks to Missouri Primary to Show what He can do Head-to-Head against Mitt Romney – Video 2/5/12

Linked by The Other McCain, and Doug Ross, thanks!

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10 thoughts on “Mitt’s Big Guns Now Trained On Santorum

  1. The best thing Santorum can do is acknowledge he has warts, and move on. A brief, one-time response is all that is required because he can rightly point to it and say, “That’s been answered. Next question?”

    And to run a positive campaign. That doesn’t mean he can’t say anything bad about the others, just that it should be in the context of “Mr. So-and-so said and/or did X. I have done Y, have always done and pushed Y, and I believe my actions are more in line with what a conservative must by principle do.”

    I’m just sorry he’s gonna get hung as a horse-thievin’ pork spender. It shows a basic belief that all tax money is the government’s, not the people’s.

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  2. The other part of my last sentence/thought above should be, “…but that’s still better than the jackasses, who believe ALL money is theirs and they decide how much of THEIR money we get to keep…”

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  3. Pingback: Mitt’s Big Guns Trained on Santorum – The Movie « Nice Deb

  4. Pingback: Mitt’s Big Guns Trained on Santorum – The Movie | FavStocks

  5. Santorum is a nanny-state conservative, with Cool New Ideas to make everyone be better. Has been for years. I knew that before Mitt’s ads.* So other than the sentiment of I-root-for-this-guy-not-that-one, how is the emotional word-choice of “guns” and “attack” justified? Mitt’s not allowed to campaign? Not allowed to say anything negative about his competition, even if true?

    And I love richard mcenroe’s gaming-the-system accusation. “Gaming” a system means exploiting technical rules against the spirit of the system. As I know of no accusations against Mitt that fit that description, I have to conclude that that your sentence means “I would like to throw emotion-laden but content-free phrases around to get you to dislike Mitt Romney.”

    First visit here. Last visit here.

    *Mitt’s got some of that himself, but it’s still fair for him to point it out.

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