Rick Santorum won 33 of the 40 Kansas delegates Saturday, though Mitt Romney romped in Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Virgin Islands and Wyoming. At 200 delegates behind Romney, how can Santorum possibly hope to catch up? Politico's Mike Allen has a memo (above) with the Santorum team's argument:
“The delegate race is currently much closer than some would like people to believe. It will get even closer as actual national convention delegates are elected at county, district, and state conventions across the country. They represent the Conservative Majority of the Republican Party, and that is a huge problem for a moderate candidate like Mitt Romney. … Rick Santorum will gain the momentum in late May by winning Kentucky, Arkansas, and Texas and head into California and New Jersey with significant momentum. At that point there will be a Conservative Majority of the delegates to the National Convention and Rick Santorum will become the presumed Republican nominee for President of the United States.”
One would think conservatism is pretty well established in Mississippi and Alabama, but neither Santorum nor Newt Gingrich are pulling away going into tomorrow's races. From PPP:
Tuesday looks like it's going to be a close election night in both Mississippi and Alabama. In Mississippi Newt Gingrich is holding on to a slight lead with 33% to 31% for Mitt Romney, 27% for Rick Santorum, and 7% for Ron Paul. And Alabama is even closer with Romney at 31% to 30% for Gingrich, 29% for Santorum, and 8% for Paul.
The memo and the common wisdom both say Santorum will win Pennsylvania once he comes back here, but it is no slam dunk. As we noted earlier, the state's top Republican leaders are so far not endorsing him. Robert Vickers at the Patriot-News did a similar story saying it would be "a death blow" to the ex senator if he doesn't win the state, while noting Gov. Tom Corbett could still endorse him in the days before the April 24th vote. The Washington Times does the same kind of story, based on interviews with Larry Dunn and other critics of the North Shore Connector.
He's also taking shots at Penn State, which he recently called a "liberal icon" where professors docked his grades because of his conservative views. The Inquirer tracks down professors who say PSU, of all places, wasn't exactly liberal when Santorum, class of '80, went there in the late 1970s. Even the current head of the school's College Republicans, a group Santorum once led, dismisses the claim in an interview with StateCollege.com.
But it's national conservatives Team Santorum are really targeting in their hoped-for march toward the national convention so -- just a week after hearing how he'll stay on message this time on the economy -- he's starting to hit the red meat again.
From a Red State post on global warming: "Of all the GOP candidates, I am the only one who has not bowed, and will never bow, to this liberal orthodoxy. I did not pander when global warming seemed cool to the press and to Hollywood."
And on teleprompters, to ABC News: ""See, I always believed that when you run for president of the United States, it should be illegal to read off a teleprompter," Santorum said at a Gulfport restaurant. "Because all you're doing is reading someone else's words to people."