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Daily Santorum: Attention pays off

Published by Tim McNulty on .

RScolbert

Attention. It's the one thing that Rick Santorum needs right now -- as long as he doesn't have significant poll results or money -- and he is getting it consistently.

It doesn't have to be good attention necessarily. Stephen Colbert made fun of his Google Problem again last night (and Jon Stewart featured him the night before, and SNL over the weekend) but that's OK -- he just uses liberal criticism to fundraise anyway.

And there's a steady if small drumbeat of support from the right. Regular readers of Daily Santorum by now have to know the name of WashPost blogger Jennifer Rubin, who has talked up Santorum constantly as the strongest conservative in the GOP presidential race. Dave Weigel at Slate has noticed too, and asks "What if a writer with a powerful masthead covered a GOP also-ran -- Santorum, in this case -- like a surging contender?" He goes over her many Santorum clips and sums up:

The Rubin-Santorum alliance is one of the best things the candidate has going for him. A couple of times a week, the candidate can point to The Washington Post's coverage as proof that he's being taken seriously. He has done that before; his campaign mail in Iowa informed readers that a previous Post story, by Karen Tumulty, labelled him a proto-Tea Partier. The alliance gives him space to attack other candidates, which has been the Santorum modus operandi for at least a year. It's fascinating to watch this unfold, a test of how much one member of the media can bend the narrative to boost a candidate.

Wait, stop the digital presses: he has more than one member of the media writing about him. I hearby bring you brand spanking new Esquire political blogger Charles Pierce, who notes RS-friendly social issues are bringing down Rick Perry and could bolster the ex Pa senator:

What's the base to do? Well, for months we've heard that the "new" GOP base downplayed the divisive social issues in favor of its deep concern over fiscal policy, especially The Deficit. This was the entire theory behind the possible candidacy of Mitch Daniels (R-Green Room) out in Indiana. It was always a shuck, though. Give these folks the chance at a good culture war, and they'll jump at it as though it were feeding time at the seal tank, which is part of the reason why there is no Mitch Daniels candidacy. They've been looking for a candidate running an actual national campaign who says all the right things about all the right bogeymen. And Rick Santorum has been there, in the extreme, for 20 years.

But Fox News is helping Santorum too -- as long as that means piling on Perry, who GOP elites think could lose to Barack Obama. From Howard Kurtz's look inside the Fox machine:

Hours before last week’s presidential debate in Orlando, Ailes’s anchors sat in a cavernous back room, hunched over laptops, and plotted how to trap the candidates. Chris Wallace said he would aim squarely at Rick Perry’s weakness: “How do you feel about being criticized by some of your rivals as being too soft on illegal immigration? Then I go to Rick Santorum: is Perry too soft?”

“That’s going to get some fireworks going,” said managing editor Bill Sammon, grinning.

It's not just hot air either. Santorum claims he's found new momentum lately and is even talking to some of Michele Bachmann's key supporters in Iowa about winning their support. (ABC News)

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