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N2K Presidential Race: Rick Santorum's 'Death Valley' N2K Presidential Race: Rick Santorum's 'Death Valley'

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N2K Presidential Race: Rick Santorum's 'Death Valley'

It's been a good few weeks for Santorum. He needs two more.

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum lowers his head during the invocation at a Economic Club of Detroit luncheon in Detroit, Mich. on Thursday.(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

February 21, 2012

Ron Paul’s new 30-second spot excoriating Rick Santorum as a “fake” fiscal conservative—and chronicling Santorum’s votes in favor of conservative anathema like foreign aid, the debt ceiling, and Planned Parenthood—must’ve made the former senator from Pennsylvania cherish his campaign’s fiscally prudent January.

While Mitt Romney, according to Federal Election Commission filings released Monday night, cruised through the month at a 3-to-1 burn rate, Santorum raised more than he spent, though his cash on hand lagged Romney's by more than $6 million.

Santorum’s parsimony has worked; he’s up 10 points over Romney in the most recent Gallup national tracking poll. But that doesn’t mean that, with money and organization, Romney—with an evident assist from Paul—isn’t likely to eclipse him.

The calendar poses challenges for Santorum; it's the political equivalent of the venture capital world's "death valley," the cash-gobbling gap between innovation investment and market. The three weeks between his last victories and the primaries in Arizona and Michigan a week from today is a maw into which the Romney money machine, well-versed in such economies, can and will shovel opposition research. Today, Romney implied that such data had been in short supply this cycle, saying Santorum hadn’t “been carefully viewed by the public.”

That’s code for: Duck, Rick.

—Jim O’Sullivan

 

NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRIMARY REPORT

 

Michael Tomasky: There Will Be No Saviors for the GOP in 2012 NEW!
[The Daily Beast, 2/21/12] The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky writes that even if it's technically plausible for a new candidate to enter the race as some GOP officials have called for, if Romney fails to win Michigan there is no new candidate that can solve the real problem plaguing the GOP: An out-of-control base.

Poll: Romney Has Small Lead in Tight Arizona Race
[National Journal, 2/21/12] Polls have showed Mitt Romney with a shrinking lead in Arizona polls before that state’s Feb. 28 primary. The latest, a CNN/Time/ORC poll out today, put Romney at 36 percent and Rick Santorum at 32 percent, within the plus/minus 4.5-percentage point error margin.

Romney Camp Portrays Him as 'Scrappy' Underdog in Home State of Michigan
NEW!
[National Journal, 2/21/12] Although Romney's said that he plans to win in Michigan, his top advisers and supporters are reshaping the narrative in Michigan to make it seem like less of a blow if he fails to win in his home state.The New York Times' Monica Davey reports on the unexpected challenges Romney's faced in Michigan that are causing Romney's advisors to manage expectations.

Romney Raises $6.5 Million in January, Besting GOP Rivals but Not Obama
[National Journal, 2/20/12] With a week left before Arizona and Michigan hold their primary contests on Feb. 28, the Romney camp reported raising $6.5 million in January. Ron Paul raised $4.5 million, a strong showing for a candidate who has lagged at the back of the pack in recent contests.

GOP Candidates Grow More Dependent on Super PAC Aid
[New York Times, 2/20/12] Weeks of aggressive campaigning through TV, radio, and public appearances in the early nominating states have left the leading GOP presidential candidates increasingly dependent on millions of dollars spent on their behalf by outside groups. In fact, both Romney and Gingrich were outraised by their respective super PACs in January.

Romney’s Money Problems  
[New York Times, 2/21/12] Nate Silver writes that the slowdown in Romney's fundraising is concerning for the probable GOP nominee, because as the race drags out, he may have to self-finance his campaign to continue a decision that could alienate important small donors and hurt his chances against Obama in the long run.

In Santorum-Romney Battle, It’s Organization vs. Enthusiasm  
[Washington Post, 2/21/12] Mitt Romney's got a strong organization due to his 2008 run and early efforts in pivotal states, but Rick Santorum's creates a level of enthusiasm in his voters that Romney still hasn't been able to obtain. Both advantages will turn voters out to the polls, but which will be stronger?

For Rick Santorum, All Politics Were Local NEW!
[Politico, 2/21/12] Politico's Jonathan Martin examines how Rick Santorum's previous experience campaigning for and serving in the Senate shaped his current persona as a politician.

Adelson Might Give $100M to Gingrich or Other GOP Candidate  
[Forbes, 2/21/12] Steven Bertoni explores the billion-dollar question: Which candidate will Sheldon Adelson, who so far has supported Gingrich, throw his weight behind next?

Kudlow: New and 'Bolder' Romney Tax Plan Coming This Week
[National Journal, 2/21/12] Perhaps in an attempt to set himself even farther apart from Santorum and refocus the debate on the economy, Romney plans to release a new tax plan either Wednesday or Friday of this week. 

Perry's Campaign Filing Sheds Light on Last Days of Presidential Bid NEW!
[McClatchy, 2/21/12] Perry's campaign finance disclosures reveal a struggling operation that was spending more than seven times as much as it took in in the last three weeks of his run.

Report: Perry Rarely in Governor's Office Since Return From Campaign
[Associated Press, 2/21/12] According to a report from the Dallas Morning News, Rick Perry hasn't spent much time at his gubernatorial duties back in Texas since leaving the campaign trail.

Trading Barbs: Drama to Look For at the Next Debate
[National Journal, 2/21/12] Tomorrow night's debate may be make-or-break for the candidates, and with that in mind, National Journal's Jenna Zwang offers you four things to watch during an expectedly fireworks-filled night of verbal combat.

Romney Unlike Father He Invokes to Connect With Michigan Voters in Primary  
[Bloomberg, 2/21/12] Bloomberg's John McCormick compares and contrasts former Michigan Gov. George Romney, revealing differences ranging from their views on civil rights to their campaigning styles.

Gingrich: Obama Most Dangerous President
[National Journal, 2/20/12] Gingrich slammed Obama on issues of national security—particularly his record confronting threats of radical Islamic terrorists and handling Iran’s march toward a nuclear program. On Monday he said the president is “the most dangerous president in modern American history.” He continued his attacks early Tuesday on CBS’s The Early Show.

The Third-Party Myth  
[National Journal, 2/21/12] The latest name bandied around for a third-party run is former U.S. Comptroller David Walker, who has been advocating for entitlement reform. But in reality, third-parties only thrive when there’s a political vacuum to be filled, as National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar writes.

Santorum in 2008: Satan Attacks U.S., Protestant Church  
[National Journal, 2/21/12] As Santorum surges, his long-ago remarks are getting more scrutiny. One just turned up from the archives is a speech he made in Florida in 2008 about Satan's war on the U.S.

Mitt Romney's Burn Rate a Boon for Barack Obama
[Politico, 2/21/12] Though Romney's campaign still has enough cash to compete against his GOP rivals, if he makes it to the general election and continues his current pace of spending, the deep-pocketed Obama campaign could easily outrun him on the trail.

Santorum Hits Social Issues Hard in West Michigan
[Detroit News, 2/21/12] In the conservative western part of Michigan, Santorum talked about the demise of traditional marriage and the “devastation” it causes society. The former Pennsylvania senator must win the region if he hopes to deliver an upset against Romney in the state’s upcoming primary.

Poll: Rubio, Santorum, Christie Top VP Picks
[Politico, 2/21/12] A new poll shows Florida Sen. Marco Rubio leading the “veepstakes” for the GOP vice presidential nomination, followed by Santorum and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie—but nearly half the voters don’t know who they want on the ticket.

Ann Romney Joins Pinterest  
[National Journal, 2/21/12] Ann Romney has joined the social-media website Pinterest, just hours after a left-leaning group made fun of her husband Mitt's campaign by using the site. The former governor's  presidential campaign is the first to use the site, which has experienced explosive growth in recent weeks.

Romney’s Anti-China Rhetoric Raises Concerns
[National Journal, 2/20/12] Romney’s attack on the United States’ economic relationship with the world’s most populous country resonates with conservatives, but has tarnished his reputation in the business community.

Where Do the GOP Candidates Stand on the Auto Bailout?
[Muskegon Chronicle, 2/21/12] The auto bailout is generally favored by Michigan voters since so much of the state’s economy is tied to the Big Three automakers in Detroit. The Muskegon Chronicle catalogued the candidates' statements on the controversial program. The Associated Press fact-checks some of these claims.

Santorum Risks Alienating Voters with Focus on Faith
[Detroit Free Press, 12/21/12] After the “phony theology” contretemps from over the weekend, the Free Press writes that some voters might be turned off by Santorum’s religious talk. 

25 Photos of Mitt Romney Looking Completely Normal
[BuzzFeed, 2/21/12] The candidate known for his strangely stiff and awkward appearances on the trail looks remarkably normal in these collection of candids. Maybe it's the un-coiffed hair?

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