Rick Santorum is campaigning today in Wisconsin ahead of the April 3 primary, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports he'll get some on-air backup from a PAC supporting his candidacy. But, the paper reports, the $300,000 buy is no match for the $2 million in airtime bought by the PAC supporting Mitt Romney and $700,000 by the Romney campaign.
It's now the second morning after Santorum lashed out at a New York Times reporter who asked about a remark the candidate made at a campaign event, but he hasn't put the episode to rest. A story in today's Washington Post is titled, in the print version: "No More Mr. Nice Guy: Rick Santorum's fiery run-in with a reporter rekindles memories of his once-ornery persona." An excerpt:
But for people who have followed Santorum’s decades-long career in politics, it was the latest sign that Santorum is reverting back to a prickly persona that predated his rise in the polls.
“Most of us who followed his career were just stunned at how, for seven or eight months, he was remarkably disciplined,” said G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. Lately, he said, he has seen signs of a more familiar Santorum. “He’s visceral, emotional, provocative,” Madonna said. “It’s who he is.”
His campaign is looking to capitalize on the incident: Yesterday, it sent out a fundraising email proclaiming "I'm ready to take on the New York Times" and asking supporters to help "expose the liberal press for what they are, a defender and enabler of Romney's and Obama's liberal agendas."
And on Monday night, Santorum got backup from Sarah Palin, who said on Fox News: "When I heard Rick Santorum's response, I was like, well welcome to my world, Rick, and good on ya. Don't retreat." See the video in Politico.
Santorum also gets a shout-out in the first TV ad (see below) of Senate candidate Steve Welch, which says the businessman won the state GOP endorsement because "grassroots Republicans saw in Welch what they saw in Rick Santorum, Tom Corbett and Pat Toomey -- a strong conservative who can win in November."