How so? Santorum's support splits evenly between Romney and Newt, not because Newt's a great guy but because so many cannot countenance his repeated willingness to violate his most solemn oaths. They don't trust him.
OTOH, when Newt is out we've seen virtually ALL of it go to Santorum.
Mathematically, that makes Newt the spoiler.
Santorum beat Romney by thirty points in Missouri because the spoiler Newt wasn’t on the ballot.
I think its pretty clear that the loser lawyer Santrorum is being bankrolled by Romney supporters to destroy Gingrich.
Minneapolis Star Tribune-2/8/12
Mitt Romney and Foster Friess, a wealthy donor to conservative causes, were walking out of an event together a few months ago when Friess broke the news: After backing Romney for president four years ago, he was getting behind Rick Santorum this time around.
He couldnt quite figure out why Rick was even bothering to go through the effort, Friess recalled Wednesday. I mean, I dont mean to fault him for saying, Why take Rick seriously? Nobody took Rick seriously.
Many more Republicans are taking Santorum seriously now, thanks to his victories in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado on Tuesday and perhaps none more than Romney, for whom Santorums unexpected rise poses another threat from the right.
The chairman of my board
Few people played a more pivotal role in Tuesdays turn of events than Friess. An investor who made millions in mutual funds and now lives in Wyoming, he is the chief backer of a super PAC that has helped keep Santorums candidacy alive by running TV ads on his behalf. His role as outside funder one that Friess indicated he will continue to play escalates the battle among a few dozen wealthy Republicans to influence their partys choice of a presidential nominee.
Friess chosen outlet the Red, White and Blue Fund provided critical support for Santorum as he sought to resuscitate his campaign. At a time when Santorum could not afford to pay for a single commercial of his own, the fund focused in particular on Minnesota, where the super PAC supporting Romney, Restore Our Future, broadcast a last-minute blitz of ads against him, Kantar Media/CMAG said.
But Friess help could prove even more vital in the weeks ahead, as Santorum tries to capitalize on his upset victories to mount a more assertive challenge to Romney and to Newt Gingrich, who has an even more deep-pocketed supporter in the billionaire casino executive Sheldon Adelson, one of nations the richest men.
Friess is relatively rare among the major backers of super PACs for his close association with the religious conservative movement. His website quotes Scripture, and he often says that God is the chairman of my board.
He is also rare for his willingness to speak openly about his political giving, a break from Adelson, who has not spoken publicly about his donations of $10 million, with his wife, to the super PAC supporting Gingrich.
There are not many donors who are really willing to be out there as such an advocate, said the founder of Red, White and Blue, Nick Ryan. It takes a little bit of the cloak and dagger out of the whole thing.
Best chance to beat Barack Obama
Friess, 71, said that he likes Santorum for his faith but also believes he is the best candidate to compete with President Obama, whom he blamed for excessive government. He said he came to know Santorum several years ago and particularly approved of his opposition to abortion rights and his hawkish foreign policy stance. Im not supporting him for how Ive known him as a friend, Friess said. Im supporting him because he has the best chance to beat Barack Obama.
Asked what compelled him to give so much, he said, No. 1, I think of all the guys that strap a gun on their backs and head to Afghanistan and Iraq to keep us free and safe and maintain what America has stood for, if I put up a million bucks or whatever, it doesnt seem like much of a sacrifice.
Friess ranks among the nations leading patrons of Republican and conservative causes. He has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Republican Party and candidates in recent years. Last year, he gave $100,000 to Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin to help fend off a Democratic-led recall effort.
Asked whether he would be prompted to donate more to the super PAC if Romney and the super PAC supporting him stepped up attacks on Santorum, Friess said: Well, I think that if he does that it is so exciting, because it finally recognizes that Rick Santorum is a threat.