Mittinator 2

Rick Santorum is known for many things, but none of them involves a sense of humor. His new ad, “Rombo,” is funny, though—and smart. In case you have somehow missed it, a Mitt Romney lookalike brandishes a serious-looking weapon and fires rounds of mud at a Santorum cutout figure. “Romney and his super PAC have spent a staggering $20 million … attacking fellow Republicans,” the announcer says. “And in the end, Mitt Romney’s attacks are going to backfire.” We’ll see about that. Now that Romney’s on the ropes, trailing Santorum nationally and in his home state of Michigan, one of his advisers yesterday promised that the coming assault would make the former Pennsylvania senator “whine like crazy.” How, exactly? First, they’ll compare Santorum to President Obama, because “he’s never run anything,” and then they’ll really go in for the kill: “hit him very hard on earmarks, lobbying, voting to raise the federal debt limit five times.” Which raises an obvious question: Is that all you got? As The Prospect’s Jamelle Bouie pointed out today, attacking Santorum for voting for a Medicare prescription-drug benefit and sending earmarked funds back to the state he represented is “bloodless and unconvincing” stuff, especially when Romney’s own conservative cred is so much shakier. In fact, The Weekly Standard ran some numbers on Santorum’s voting record today and found “an impressive portrait of fiscal conservatism.” Santorum simply doesn’t offer the rich array of attack points that Newt Gingrich did. His great liability as a general-election candidate is something that Romney dares not touch: His extreme views on social issues, which the “Massachusetts moderate” has been trying all election season to mimic. So while the Obama campaign is no doubt busy compiling a treasure trove of videos displaying Santorum in culture-warrior mode (see below), the Romney crowd must be feeling an odd twinge of Newt nostalgia right about now.


So They Say

“I have voted for contraception, although I don’t think it works, I think it’s harmful to women, I think it’s harmful to our society.”

Rick Santorum, interviewed in 2006 on Philadelphia’s Comcast station, CN8


Daily Meme: The State of Michigan

  • Molly Ball: Will Romney’s home state be his firewall—or “the bonfire of his hopes”?  
  • Nate Silver: Santorum has a 77 percent chance of winning the state. 
  • But that doesn't factor in Romney's ability to play 29 ads to every one Santorum airs. 
  • Still: How long will the money last? 
  • Romney is blasting the auto-industry bailout…
  • …but he sang a notably different tune in 2008. 
  • Meanwhile, Santorum is starting to raise some real money

What We're Writing

  • Monica Potts reports on the anti-abortion feminist group that is helping to thin the ranks of women in Congress. 
  • Patrick Caldwell looks at Santorum’s endgame. 


What We're Reading

  • Why hasn’t Santorum released his tax returns as promised?
  • Harold Meyerson: The 2012 GOP race shows the party is dividing along class lines. 
  • The New Yorker: Does politics need religion?
  • Frank Rich: "The election isn't going to be decided in blue-state enclaves. This election is about places like Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina."
  • John Avlon: Is it time to kill the caucuses? 
  • Noam Scheiber: Obama’s strategic acumen is overrated. 

Poll of the Day

Poll: Nearly 60 percent of Americans support Obama’s birth-control mandate.