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Daily Santorum: The happy campaigner

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Friend of Early Returns Charlie Kelly, a Pittsburgh attorney, gets to the heart of Rick Santorum in a new story in the New Republic. Kelly was practicing at the same firm as Santorum when he first ran for Congress and said he's always been "much more engaged by Santorum the campaigner than Santorum the politician. . . He was so happy [in 1990], contemplating the campaign he was going to run. Over the years, I’ve never seen him so happy as when he’s on a campaign.” Santorum at PSU

Santorum may have reached too far into the political bag of tricks when he openly robocalled for Democratic support in Michigan -- not only did the ploy not work (the percentage was way behind those voting for John McCain in 2000, and about the same as in 2008), but the Romney camp is already using it as an attack line in Ohio and other Super Tuesday states.

It also feeds the impression that he's an extremist who'll do anything to get elected. From the Chicago Tribune:

"His messaging was not focused, and he created mini-controversies with over-the-top rhetoric on the 1960 Kennedy speech, on President Obama's desire to improve access to college and on the recent hot-button issue of contraception, all of which made it easy for the media and the Romney campaign to define him as extreme and unelectable," [Republican strategist Matt] Mackowiak said.

Fervent Catholic Santorum's frequent references to religion on the campaign trail had mixed results in Michigan.
Exit polls showed that while evangelical Christians backed Santorum, more Catholics actually supported Romney, and voters who described themselves as Protestant chose Santorum by a difference of only two percentage points.

He also told Minnesota voters just a couple weeks ago that he was against Democrats voting in Republican contests in open primaries. No wonder he's complaining about the media turning him into a "caricature."

Still, he was up 18 points in the last poll in Tennessee and up 7 in Ohio, according to RCP. He'll have a chance to redeem his last debate performance when Mike Huckabee hosts a Fox News forum Saturday night. (NYT)

Public schedule below:

Wednesday, February 29:

7:35am ET: Senator Santorum will appear on Larry Hansgen radio show on WHIO in Dayton, OH.

 

8:07am ET: Senator Santorum will appear on "Bill Bennett's Morning in America" nationally syndicated radio show.

 

8:30am ET: Senator Santorum will appear on the nationally syndicated "Steve Gill Show."

 

9:05am ET: Senator Santorum will appear on "The Pat Campbell Show" on 1170AM KFAQ in Tulsa, OK.

12:00pm ET: Senator Santorum will hold a "Rally for Rick" in Knoxville, TN.

 

Location:

Crown College, Auditorium

1700 West Beaver Creek Drive

Powell, TN

 

8:00pm CT: Senator Santorum will hold a "Rally for Rick" in Nashville, TN.

 

Location:

Belmont University

Curb Event Center

2002 Belmont Boulevard

Nashville, TN

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