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Daily Santorum: Fade To Black

Published by Daniel Malloy on .

(From the editor: Daily Santorum began as a way to track the Pittsburgh native when few else were paying attention, and to avoid the sanitarium authors Dan Malloy and Tim McNulty stuffed the posts with Metallica references. For the last one, here's a guest spot from Early Returns' version of the irreplaceable Cliff Burton.)

"There is nothing more for me/Need the end to set me free"

We can safely assume that 1984 James Hetfield had far darker things on his mind than a presidential campaign, but these lines from the Metallica classic "Fade To Black" provide an apt coda to the Rick Santorum's Fantastic Presidential Adventure. He made his point; it was time to go.

Santorum accomplished many things aside from completely upending the conventional wisdom of the presidential race. (Look no further than the Daily Santorum debut edition on Feb. 25, 2011, in which Politico's ubiquitous Mike Allen ranks the candidates thusly: 1) Mitt Romney, 2) Tim Pawlenty, 3) Haley Barbour, 4) Jon Huntsman, 5) Newt Gingrich, 6) Rick Santorum.) He elevated the cause of "family values" more than any other candidate. He somehow made the sweater vest even less cool. He managed to inject an intriguing brand of right-wing working class populism into the race that Romney will surely seek in the general election. He wielded a piece of Marcellus shale like a talisman.

Most of all – as much as he did the standard politician's it's-about-you formalities in his Gettysburg farewell – Rick Santorum rehabilitated his own image. No longer is he best known for a nasty neologism (now No. 3 on Google, behind his campaign site and Wikipedia entry) and an 18-point spanking by a milquetoast Senate challenger.

This newfound status should serve him nicely in his next move, likely a lucrative media gig and/or some more consulting work and speculation for the next four or eight years about another run – which will, in turn, boost the aforementioned pursuits. He is also free to spend more time coaching Little League, playing fantasy baseball and tending to Bella, all of which he surely missed.

At the Daily Santorum, we had plenty of fun at Santorum's expense -- weed smoking, beer chugging, JFK-vomit, Satan – and hopefully we did our part to inform you, kind reader, about the campaign as well as provide a little levity to the proceedings. I had a blast helping to write it and – since leaving the P-G in August – I've enjoyed the heck out of reading it. Thanks to all for following along and for Santorum, his staff and his supporters for being good sports about it.

Because, let's face it, the Daily Romney would have been dull.

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Smith ad hits Rohrer, Welch in US Sen race

Published by Tim McNulty on .

The air war is on in the Republican battle for U.S. Senate, with retired Armstrong County coal company owner Tom Smith taking shots at fellow candidates Sam Rohrer and Steve Welch in a new ad.

Rohrer, a former state Rep and gubernatorial candidate, has led the minimal polling in the race to take on Democrat Bob Casey and Welch, a Chester County businessman tapped by Tom Corbett and the state GOP committee, has lately been running ads hitting Smith for being a lifelong Democrat. Smith's previous ads have largely focused on Casey and President Obama, but a new one launched today hits Rohrer for taking the 2005 legislative pay raise and Welch for admitting to voting for Obama in the 2008 primary.

The GOP race also includes Bucks County veterans advocate David Christian and Harrisburg attorney Marc Scaringi.

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Miracles run out for Santorum

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Santorum

Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty

Dateline Gettysburg, the P-G's Karen Langley reports from Rick Santorum's final day on the presidential trail:

Appearing with his wife, Karen, and four of their children before reporters in this historic Civil War town, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania sounded as if even he had not anticipated the trajectory of his campaign, from the early days holding town hall meetings in Iowa to ultimately winning contests across the country.

"Miracle after miracle, this race was as improbable as any race you will ever see for president," he said.

Jim O'Toole has the news analysis:

In the years after his Senate defeat, Mr. Santorum had settled into a typical post-congressional career of speechmaking, consulting -- none dare call it lobbying -- and public commentary. But the health care debate, the tea party-led Republican congressional gains of 2010 and his personal ambition -- which had led him, when he was just 32, to challenge an entrenched Democratic House member -- once again pushed him to defy the odds.

David Shribman:

Mr. Santorum leaves behind a formidable coalition of religious conservatives worried about social and moral corrosion and feeling the effects of the recession more sharply than Mr. Romney's supporters. The former Massachusetts governor does not speak to their issues nor in their idiom. They will support him in November, but not ardently.

Delegate expert Josh Putnam looks at Santorum's long odds and says despite the GOP's attempt to make the primary longer this year still played out like 2008.

NYT poll expert Nate Silver says Santorum faces bad odds in 2016 given the candidates eyeing a run should Mitt Romney lose this year (Mitch Daniels, Marco Rubio, etc) and notes he still has high unfavorable numbers despite his improbable run:

Mr. Santorum is himself fairly young at 53, so he will have plenty of time to build up his brand name and evaluate his options. Still, it could easily be that the 2012 nomination campaign will prove to be the high-water mark of his political career.

The NYT also has a cool interactive graphic on his run.

Santorum has almost $1 million in debt, about half of it owed to Pittsburgh media consultants Brabender Cox.

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Wednesday heds: Shale, 911th, PA12 debate

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Before we get to the biggest Pa story of the day, some other headlines:

Commonwealth Court is going to hear an appeal of state Marcellus Shale regulations that overpower local zoning laws (Laura Olson)

The Air Force says closing the 911th would save more than $350 million, but US Rep Tim Murphy isn't buying it (Tracie Mauriello)

The former national and local president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Leo Marchetti, dies at 88 (Gary Rotstein)

Jason Altmire and Mark Critz faced off in another debate, where few policy differences show but one man is a lot better on TV than the other (McNulty)

The Club For Growth is going to stay out of the Tim Murphy/Evan Feinberg race, saying the challenger hasn't race enough money to make their assistance viable (The Hill/PoliticsPa)

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Six years

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Santorum in Gettysburg
All that good-livin' has treated Rick and Karen Santorum well over the years -- the kids have grown up a lot however since his concession speech after losing to Bob Casey in 2006. Above shot today from the AP's Gene Puskar and below from the Post-Gazette's Robin Rombach.
Santorums 2006