It's going to be a crazy day in the GOP presidential race, so here's a quick look at Rick Santorum-related news as it stands this morning, and we'll surely add more through the day.
The biggest news, which has been telegraphed through the week, is that Santorum actually beat Mitt Romney in Iowa. The problem is results are still missing and the state GOP will not officially declare a winner (see why in this Des Moines Register report) so the party apparatus there is calling it "a split decision."
But not Team Santorum -- to them it's a win. Here's communications director Hogan Gidley:'
"We've had two early state contests with two winners - and the narrative that Governor Romney and the media have been touting of 'inevitability' has been destroyed. Conservatives can now see and believe they don't have to settle for Romney, the Establishment's moderate candidate - who authored the model for Obamacare that provided taxpayer funded abortions, who boasted that he was more socially liberal than Ted Kennedy, and who supported Wall Street bailouts. There is a consistent conservative alternative who has the proven record of reforming entitlements, defending the unborn, and standing up for American exceptionalism around the Globe - and has proven that he is the one man in this race able to defeat Mitt Romney. That candidate is Rick Santorum. This latest defeat of Governor Romney in Iowa is just the beginning, and Rick Santorum is committed to continuing the fight as the clear, consistent conservative voice in this race."
Win or not, it won't deliver actual delegates to either Santorum or Romney. The NYT explains:
That ruling, first reported by The Des Moines Register, has no practical effect — the Iowa contest is considered a "beauty contest" that does not officially allocate delegates to the winner, but provides Iowa's Republican Party a sense of the voters' thinking.
But the muddled result could be a psychological gain for Mr. Santorum, and robs Mr. Romney of being able to say that he swept the early contests.
Putting it more sharply is NYT columnist Andy Rosenthal: "And the official winner in Iowa is . . . Who Cares?"
Notice Gidley's mention of "The Establishment" in the campaign's quote? That's also the title of a tough new Orwellian ad blasting Romney above. (Speaking of ads, here's Roll Call on the longtime ties between Santorum and chief consultant John Brabender of Pittsburgh.)
So will that be the tone tonight at the CNN debate? With Rick Perry out of the race and blood in the water, will Gingrich, Santorum and Ron Paul attack Romney or each other? The latest polls show Gingrich in first now, with Santorum lagging in fourth, and Perry is endorsing Gingrich.
God knows it's getting dirty: flyers were distributed at a anti-abortion forum in Greenville, S.C., saying Santorum was not sufficiently pro-life, with mentions of the Daily Beast story detailing his wife's live-in abortion doc boyfriend in the 1980s. (In other news, Gingrich's ex-wife Marianne, whom he divorced after being diagnosed with MS, is saying he wanted an "open marriage" and lacks the moral character to be president.)
The Tax Policy Center studied Santorum's tax plan. From the AP:
The tax plan by Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum would cut taxes for most Americans while swelling the federal budget deficit by $900 billion in a single year, according to an independent study. About 69 percent of households would get tax cuts averaging nearly $7,800, according analysis by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank.
Santorum's schedule for the day after the jump: