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N2K Presidential Race: Santorum Sues for Piece of Health Care Argument N2K Presidential Race: Santorum Sues for Piece of Health Care Argument

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N2K Presidential Race: Santorum Sues for Piece of Health Care Argument

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum insists he would make the strongest candidate in the fall.(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

March 26, 2012

Rick Santorum is taking his case that Mitt Romney would be a terrible Republican nominee to court. Santorum was at the Supreme Court today, just in time for opening arguments on President Obama's health care legislation.

Santorum's appearance, with all of the colorful optics and national media exposure it offers, couldn't have come at a better time for the struggling candidate. Romney's delegate lead has been increasing, and more and more prominent Republicans are calling for the party to rally behind him.

Santorum has been arguing that because Romney spearheaded a Massachusetts health care program similar to "Obamacare,'' he would not be a credible standard-bearer for Republicans’ strongest line of attack, a pitch that could take on an added resonance on the steps of the Supreme Court. 

Although most prominent Republicans say that a contested convention would be a disaster, Santorum said, "It is the best thing that could happen. To make this election a two-month election negates Obama's advantages in this race.'' 

The next contests will be April 3 in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Wisconsin. Wisconsin is expected to be the most competitive of the three, but Santorum told reporters this morning: "I don't think we'll win,'' he said. A few minutes later, he revised his outlook. "It won't be easy, but I think we can pull it off.''

-- Beth Reinhard

NATIONAL JOURNAL’
S PRIMARY REPORT

GOP Race Nears Tipping Point
[Politico, 3/26/12] With a mix of resignation about Romney and eagerness to get on with the business of defeating Obama, conservative and establishment GOP officials are all but declaring the race over. Newt Gingrich and Santorum, too, are moving on to their next act as hecklers rather than competitors.

House Majority Whip McCarthy Will Back Romney  
[National Journal, 3/26/12] House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., will endorse Romney for the GOP presidential nomination on Monday, the Romney campaign announced. The third-ranking GOP House leader is the third prominent elected Republican to voice his support for the former Massachusetts governor since last week.

 

Santorum Calls Romney ‘Worst Republican’ to Face Obama
[National Journal, 3/25/12] In directing what appeared to be a new level of vitriol toward Romney, Santorum on Sunday described his rival as “the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama.” But minutes later, Santorum lashed out at a reporter, saying it was unreasonable to take his comment outside the context of health care policy. 

Obama’s Etch A Sketch Moment? Will 'Space' and 'Flexibility' Haunt Obama on Foreign Policy? NEW!
[National Journal, 3/26/12] At the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea today, Obama said -- without knowing his microphone was on -- that he needed “space” now so he could operate with greater “flexibility” on missile-defense negotiations after Election Day. Could this statement hurt him the same way a Romney advisor's Etch A Sketch remarks have hurt Romney?

Conservative Leader Cardenas Backs Romney
[National Journal, 3/26/12] American Conservative Union leader Al Cardenas endorsed Romney today, part of a steady stream of conservative leaders coming out to back Romney since last week's endorsement from Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Can Matt Rhoades Go Big?  
[BuzzFeed, 3/26/12] Romney campaign manager’s careful defense and kitchen-sink offense have all but delivered the Republican nomination to a moderate from Massachusetts. Now Matt Rhoades just has to work on that vision thing. CORRECTION: An earlier version of this item misspelled Matt Rhoades's name.

The 'Walking Dead' Phase of the Primary Is Upon Us  
[Washington Post, 3/26/12]  As Gingrich lashes out at Obama over the Trayvon Martin situation and Santorum curses out the press, Chris Cillizza argues that the nomination fight is ending not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with a whine.

Inside Rick Santorum's Alternate Reality NEW!
[The Atlantic, 3/26/12] Even though it seems impossible for Santorum to overcome Romney's sizeable delegate lead, he's pledged to stay in the race. The Atlantic's Molly Ball looks behind the scenes to figure out what's keeping Santorum around.

Romney Says Talking Specifics Has Hurt Him  
[National Journal, 3/26/12] In an interview with the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard, Romney said that talking specifics about what government programs he would like to eliminate during a campaign has hurt him before, which is why he’s sticking to generalities this time. He also acknowledged that his religious beliefs and his history with health care are hurting him with hard-core conservatives.

Candidates Woo Unbound Delegates
[Wall Street Journal, 3/25/12] In a competition largely hidden from view, the GOP presidential candidates are intensifying efforts to win over a small but potentially powerful band of unbound delegates--117 in all--who will go to the party’s convention in August.

Santorum: You’re Not ‘a Real Republican’ If You Haven’t Cursed Out a Times Reporter
[National Journal, 3/26/12] After lashing out at a New York Times reporter on Sunday, Santorum tried to downplay the incident, saying today that it’s a mark of his Republican bona fides that he said such a thing. His campaign also responded to the incident just after 1 a.m. today with an e-mail blast titled “A fight worth fighting.”

Gingrich: Not Quitting, Because Race Isn't Decided NEW!
[CNN, 3/26/12] Gingrich said today that he won't leave the race until Romney gets 1,144 delegates--and that if Romney's unable to do that by the convention, the primary "becomes pretty wide open."

Santorum Ignores Pressure to Bow Out to Romney
[New York Times, 3/25/12] The question facing Santorum now is not whether he intends to press forward with his candidacy but whether he should. Santorum, however, is not bowing to rising pressure from Republicans to end the divisive presidential contest so the party can turn its attention to defeating Obama.

Wisconsin Primary Primer: How It Works in Wisconsin  
[Fond du Lac Reporter, 3/26/12] A primer on what’s at stake in Wisconsin on Tuesday: In the winner-take-all state, 42 delegates will be awarded. Delegates are assigned by the Republican National Committee and include three for each congressional district, 13 at-large delegates, and bonus delegates based on GOP officeholders.

A Daunting Obama Ground Game Awaits Romney
[Los Angeles Times, 3/25/12] An examination of how the Romney and Obama camps have spent their money in the last year starkly illustrates the huge advantage that  Obama will have in mounting a ground operation to identify voters and get them to the polls in November.

Little Home Comfort For Santorum in Pennsylvania
[Reuters, 3/25/12] A staunch conservative from a moderate state, Santorum is unlikely to get much home support in Pennsylvania when the state votes on April 24. Santorum represented the state in Congress for 16 years before being resoundingly voted out of the Senate in 2006.

Gingrich Soldiers On, Despite Dearth of Delegates
[New York Times, 3/25/12] Primary by primary, Gingrich’s reasons for remaining in the race keep getting knocked down. Most recently, the last print reporters embedded with the Gingrich campaign were pulled from the trail. But humiliation has not changed his will to stay in the race, and now he has another reason--he can exert leverage over policy debates in his party and against Obama.

Where Is Ron Paul?
[Washington Post, 3/26/12] Ron Paul seems to have taken a lower profile of late in the GOP primary race. Felicia Sonmez looks at what Paul is--and isn’t--doing these days on the trail.

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