Rick Santorum might have lost his most famous battles—not just for re-election as senator from Pennsylvania in 2006, but also against Dan Savage’s icky re-definition of his name. But he could be winning the contest to become the GOP’s right-wing alternative to Mitt Romney. In yesterday’s Time/CNN poll, the social-values crusader registered 16 percent in Iowa, vaulting him ahead of Governor Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. For a money-strapped candidate whose most notable moment thus far was his failure to chide audience members who booed a gay soldier, this might seem inexplicable. But Santorum has run a dogged, Jimmy Carter-style shoeleather campaign in Iowa, hitting all 99 counties, and he won the endorsement of the state’s most influential evangelical leader, Bob Vander Plaats. In the surest sign that Santorum is rising, Perry has begun to attack him, airing a faux game-show ad hosted by “Wink Taxandspend” that says Santorum “is proud of feeding at the earmark trough.” Also, Erick Erickson is fretting at RedState that if Santorum finishes in the top three in Iowa, instead of Perry or Gingrich, “we might as well sit back and declare Mitt Romney the nominee.”
SO THEY SAY
“Every barrel of oil that comes out of those sands in Canada is a barrel of oil that we don’t have to buy from a foreign source.”
DAILY MEME: MITT THE INEVITABLE
- Boston Globe: “Right moment, right Mitt Romney”
- Commentary: “Romney in the Catbird Seat”
- National Journal: Divided conservatives have boosted Romney.
- American Prospect: “Everything Is Coming Up Romney.”
- HuffPo quotes Romney: “Why don’t we just caucus right now?”
WHAT WE'RE READING
- Michele Bachmann’s Iowa co-chair defects to Ron Paul—and the congresswoman claims he was bought.
- What will anti-incumbent sentiment mean in the 2012 congressional elections?
WHAT WE'RE WRITING
- Josh Harkinson reports on the apostles of the Ron Paul Revolution.
- How Obama got his groove back.
- Iowa is “American Idol for the politically obsessed.”
- Ron Paul praises Occupy Wall Street, likening it to the Tea Party.
- Robert Reich predicts an Obama-Clinton ticket in 2012.
- What if Obama wins but Democrats lose the Senate?
POLL OF THE DAY
The Pew Hispanic Center finds that Obama’s approval rating among Latinos has sunk to 49 percent—but they still support the president over Romney by 68 to 23 percent. In 2008, Obama had a 67-31 edge among Latinos.