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Numbers Suggest Santorum Could Be Romney's Worst Nightmare
Townhall.com ^ | February 17, 2012 | Scott Rassmussen

Posted on 02/17/2012 5:48:02 AM PST by Kaslin

In a campaign defined by Republican reluctance to embrace Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum has emerged as the latest not-Romney candidate to surge ahead. While it's impossible to predict what will happen in this volatile election season, the data suggests that Santorum might be more of a challenge for Romney than earlier flavors of the month.

The latest Rasmussen Reports poll of the GOP race shows that Rick Santorum leads Mitt Romney by 12 points, 39 percent to 27 percent. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are far behind. In and of itself, that's nothing new. The man from Massachusetts has at times trailed Michele Bachmann, Donald Trump, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich in the polls.

What is new are the numbers from a head-to-head matchup with no other candidates in the race. Santorum leads Romney 55 percent to 34 percent. None of the earlier Romney alternatives could manage better than a toss-up in such a contest.

Those numbers show that Santorum picks up 16 points when other candidates drop out. Romney adds just 7 to his column. Santorum makes huge gains among conservative voters when others drop out of the race. Among non-conservatives, Santorum and Romney gain roughly equal amounts. For the first time, the numbers show that if one of Romney's challengers drops out, the other challenger will overwhelmingly benefit. Gingrich supporters, by a three-to-one margin, would vote for Santorum over Romney if that was the final choice.

Both Romney and Santorum are well-liked by Republican Primary voters, but Santorum has a slight advantage on this pointm as well. Seventy-five percent offer a favorable opinion of Santorum, while 66 percent say the same of Romney.

There is a huge passion gap favoring Santorum, though. Forty percent of Republican primary voters have a very favorable opinion of Santorum. Just 18 percent are that enthusiastic about Romney.

The one thing keeping Romney afloat is that he is still perceived as the strongest general election candidate. For some Republicans, that's enough. But to survive the Santorum challenge, Romney needs to give primary voters something more, something positive. GOP voters want a reason to vote for him beyond the fact that he has the most money and the best organization.

Team Romney needs to acknowledge that Republican voters are not only strongly opposed to President Obama's agenda but that they don't think much of Washington Republicans, either. They want a president who would shake up the good old boys network in Washington rather than join it. To date, Romney's attitude signals that he'd be more comfortable leading the club than challenging it.

Santorum has a very different challenge. First, he must survive the onslaught of ads coming from the Romney campaign. Then, he must convince Republican voters that he can win the general election in November. Electability is still the most important factor for Republican voters. If Santorum can neutralize the electability argument, he could become Romney's worst nightmare.

The next primary competitions are slated for Feb. 28 in Arizona and Michigan. If Romney wins both states, the race will probably be over. However, if Santorum can pull off a victory that day, he will be far more than the latest flavor of the month.


TOPICS: Breaking News; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2012polls; freeperheadsexplode; prolifelikebush; prolifesantorum; rassmussen; santorum; santorumbush3; santorumprolife
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The more they play the Romney attack ads, the more I am convinced Rick Santorum is the Candidate for me
1 posted on 02/17/2012 5:48:07 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

I hope he knocks Robomney right out of the saddle.


2 posted on 02/17/2012 5:52:33 AM PST by Do Not Make Fun Of His Ears (Ann Coulter is a joke.)
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To: Kaslin

Oh dear

Rick is in the hair..


3 posted on 02/17/2012 5:56:30 AM PST by Tennessee Nana (Why should I vote for Bishop Romney when he hates me because I am a Christian)
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To: Kaslin

Rick Santorum is not Mitt Romney and that’s good enough for me.

(this also works for Gingrich, but whoever’s beating Romney currently is getting my vote in OH)


4 posted on 02/17/2012 6:09:26 AM PST by delapaz
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To: Kaslin

The more I read comments about Santorum by Newt supporters (and I am one), the more I feel called upon to defend him against some of the ridiculous charges.

He is a conservative. The occasional vote we didn’t like during two senate terms does not change that.

He did not use his sick little child as a campaign prop. That is nonsense and sick in itself.

He doesn’t knock your socks off but if he gets the nomination, I will support him happily.


5 posted on 02/17/2012 6:14:04 AM PST by altura
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To: Alamo-Girl; betty boop; Cincinatus' Wife; Jim Robinson; Kaslin
I am not a fan of polls, but I do know they reflect reality at a given point in time if fairly conducted.

This is another wake-up call for conservatives and Free Republic.

Neither of our 2 remaining conservatives in this race are perfect, but they are clearly the conservatives. Santorum had an 80% ACU rating and Gingrich an 88%. I attribute that difference to Santorum being from liberal Pennsylvania and Gingrich being from very conservative Georgia. That Santorum was able to maintain that high a conservative voting record while in a liberal state and win 4 terms says that he is not a pretend conservative.

We must view EVERY attack on Santorum or Gingrich as an attack from Romney. We are past the point where we can give the benefit of the doubt to those in the media who want to raise fine points of conservative purity.

I am totally, completely 1000% convinced that that is a paid for attack originating from Romney.

His attack ads listing Santorum as a big spender, a voter for debt extension, etc. are ridiculously transparent. That big spender raised government grabs of money in his state without even thinking. He accepted all the Federal money he could get.

We also know that those omnibus spending bills in Congress are DESIGNED by the opposition to force legislators who want, for example, money for the troops, to vote for something they don't like.

There still isn't a line-item veto, and the senate was controlled mostly by the democrats.

So, are we going to support those trying to knock off our remaining candidates, or are we going to recognize it?

6 posted on 02/17/2012 6:14:28 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Pray Continued Victory for our Troops Still in Afghan!)
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To: Kaslin

Santorum has become the ‘not’ candidate.

He is not Mitt ‘I have been on every side of every issue’ Romney.

He is not Newt ‘I have a trainload of baggage’ Gingrich.

He is not Ron ‘I would isolate the USA from the rest of the world’ Paul.

Right now, that puts Santorum in a good position. It will be interesting to see, in the coming week, how he holds up to the attack ads. He is challenging Romney in Michigan and Gingrich in Georgia, their ‘home turfs’.

Gingrich may have become over confident a few weeks ago when he announced that he would be the nominee. Of course, Santorum, or any of the candidates, could still have a ‘macaca’ moment, a Deaniac scream, a Muskie tear-fest, and sink to the bottom.


7 posted on 02/17/2012 6:14:48 AM PST by TomGuy
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To: Kaslin

Isn’t it time for Willard to drop out for the good of the GOP?


8 posted on 02/17/2012 6:19:08 AM PST by txrefugee
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To: Kaslin
Santorum isn't dumb enough to fall for Romney's attack trained Tar baby.

Gingrich took the bait.

9 posted on 02/17/2012 6:21:56 AM PST by Carry_Okie (There has not been a conservative American government for 90 years.)
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To: Kaslin

[ The next primary competitions are slated for Feb. 28 in Arizona and Michigan. If Romney wins both states, the race will probably be over ]

Hardly. How many times have the GGP-e said that this primary season?


10 posted on 02/17/2012 6:22:17 AM PST by KansasGirl
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To: Carry_Okie

What are you talking about?


11 posted on 02/17/2012 6:24:35 AM PST by altura
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To: Carry_Okie
Santorum isn't dumb enough to fall for Romney's attack trained Tar baby.

The ad the Rick is running in MI is funny as hell.

It shows a romney look a like with an automatic mud gun shooting at but missing, Rick cardboard targets and in the end getting mud on his nice white shirt.

Very effective parody on mittens mud slinging and it will work without being nasty.

12 posted on 02/17/2012 6:32:50 AM PST by USS Alaska (Nuke the terrorists savages.)
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To: Kaslin

Wow, I got banned from FR for questioning a NEWTUS MAGNIFICUS post in favor Rick.

The overlords here are slipping or something.

They accused me of being a dhimmikrat troll.

Yet you have posted in favor of my guy.

The overlords must be on the Media Matters stipend


13 posted on 02/17/2012 6:43:36 AM PST by palmerizedCaddis
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To: xzins
You can spin Santorum any way you like, but it was Santorum who helped Specter keep his Senate seat, only to immediately turn on us and be the 60th vote to approve Obamacare.

The biggest problem you have in selling your hero is, the fact that he will lose to Obama. You better get busy and do some research on your own. Take an inside look at what the other side has already planned for Santorum. You think that it was rough for Newt? You ain't seen nuthin’ yet!

If Santorum is picked, we will not only lose in a very big way, it will also relieve the angst from the GOPE, because they know Santorum well, and his past gives them cause to relax if he gets the nomination. Not so with Newt, and you know it.

14 posted on 02/17/2012 6:43:47 AM PST by PSYCHO-FREEP (If you come to a fork in the road, take it........)
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To: Kaslin

Santorum should just run 5 second ads after each Romney attack ad with My Cousin Vinny saying “Everything that guy just said is bull$#!+”


15 posted on 02/17/2012 6:46:19 AM PST by P-Marlowe
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To: delapaz
Santorum has a very different challenge. First, he must survive the onslaught of ads coming from the Romney campaign. Then, he must convince Republican voters that he can win the general election in November. Electability is still the most important factor for Republican voters. If Santorum can neutralize the electability argument, he could become Romney's worst nightmare.

Santorum has not yet been tested. He has not gotten the Obama/Romney hate barrage that Gingrich has.

16 posted on 02/17/2012 6:47:12 AM PST by iowamark (The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves)
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To: USS Alaska

I had to track that ad down after you mentioned it - it is very good!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtOcrS6axnE


17 posted on 02/17/2012 6:51:19 AM PST by PreciousLiberty (Real Hope - Santorum '12!!!)
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To: palmerizedCaddis; Admin Moderator; Jim Robinson

Are you trying to take over? I’m sure your kind words to the owner and your “overlords” will resonate. (Got Milk for your toast?)


18 posted on 02/17/2012 6:52:03 AM PST by PSYCHO-FREEP (If you come to a fork in the road, take it........)
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To: palmerizedCaddis

Seven reasons for Rick Santorum


  1. Who has won the most states without the benefit of their own money, last election's organization or a billionaire casino sugar daddy?
  2. Who is everybody's second choice when he isn't their first?
  3. Who can get both the Romney people and the Gingrich people, who hate each other, to vote for him?
  4. Who has the best record on immigration?
  5. Who has the best plan for repealing ObamaCare? And is the only GOP candidate who didn't help write or approve legislation which helped spawn this fiasco?
  6. Who has the best plan for expanding the American economy and strengthening American families?
  7. Who is the closest thing we have to the "generic Republican" which polls show consistently beating Obama and is most likely to make the election about Obama's sorry record rather than about himself?

19 posted on 02/17/2012 6:53:01 AM PST by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: PSYCHO-FREEP

“Not so with Newt, and you know it.”

Newt is dead man walking. It is Santorum or Romney. Easy choice. Santorum will defeat Romney and will win the midwest battleground states (which are overwhelmingly white working class). Those states are absolutely beyond reach in the general to Mittens and they would be harder for Newt to win than Santorum, a legitimately blue collar ethnic Catholic. As a first generation Italian-American, Santorum would be poised to win states like New Jersey which have heavily Italian populations and which would clearly be out of reach for either Romney or Gingrich.

Even Nate Silver, a big lib, is beginnning to see it


20 posted on 02/17/2012 6:56:15 AM PST by Brices Crossroads
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To: PSYCHO-FREEP

Woohoo, it’s Psycho again! Apt name.

“The biggest problem you have in selling your hero is, the fact that he will lose to Obama.”

Nope, that is sheerest unfounded supposition on your part.

“You better get busy and do some research on your own. Take an inside look at what the other side has already planned for Santorum.”

As usual, the “other side” will pull out all stops on the negative advertising, just like Romney is. So? Rick Santorum has less baggage than 0bamney or Gingrich. Plus, he is a true conservative that provides a clear contrast with 0bama.

Further, given the horrible job 0 has done across the board, Santorum will have a boatload of ammo to send the other way.

“You think that it was rough for Newt? You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!”

Newt has no chance in the general. His negatives are through the roof, and that’s before the barrage of Dem attack ads. I hope he drops out soon, that will put Santorum over the top in a big way. Unless he’s a complete hypocrite he’ll do it, but I don’t have much faith that he will, truthfully.


21 posted on 02/17/2012 6:58:07 AM PST by PreciousLiberty (Real Hope - Santorum '12!!!)
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To: Kaslin
These are the solid numbers *everyone* should be using....


22 posted on 02/17/2012 7:01:28 AM PST by Daffynition (Our forefathers would be shooting by now.)
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To: PSYCHO-FREEP; P-Marlowe

Your words are exactly how Romney ads portray Santorum.

80% ACU rating for Santorum; 88% for Gingrich.

Santorum LEADS Romney.

There are CONSERVATIVE REASONS for everything Santorum did, and there are LIBERAL REASONS for everything Romney did.


23 posted on 02/17/2012 7:07:55 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Pray Continued Victory for our Troops Still in Afghan!)
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To: Daffynition

Looks to me that Obama has done almost everything he wanted to do.


24 posted on 02/17/2012 7:10:09 AM PST by sima_yi ( Reporting live from the People's Republic of Boulder)
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To: P-Marlowe

Santorum should just run 5 second ads after each Romney attack ad with My Cousin Vinny saying “Everything that guy just said is bull$#!+”

That made me laugh out loud. It would be the most effective ad campaign of all time!


25 posted on 02/17/2012 7:24:11 AM PST by FerociousRabbit
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To: PSYCHO-FREEP

The only way Rick loses to Obama is if conservatives fail to unite and fight for him.


26 posted on 02/17/2012 7:26:59 AM PST by Kenny (I)
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To: Brices Crossroads

Excellent post that sums it up.

Short and sweet.


27 posted on 02/17/2012 7:29:45 AM PST by dforest
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To: P-Marlowe; wagglebee; wmfights; Jim Robinson

Pennsylvania is our 6th most populous state with a couple of huge DEMOCRATIC historic metropolitan areas.

Anyone who thinks Santorum accidentally won those twice in state-wide senatorial campaigns is dreaming. AND, he was still a totally pro-life Catholic. (I believe Catholic voters, even if they don’t follow the birth control teachings of their church, have a soft spot in their hearts for those who do, and they give them a pass. They understand)

Santorum won in a state with pushing 13 million voters, major LameStream Media outlets, huge union forces, and a long tradition as a democrat stronghold.

He didn’t succeed because he couldn’t control himself or his campaign. I’d say it was just the opposite.

And then he managed to maintain a conservative voting record and get re-elected.

Can you imagine a conservative senator with an 80% conservative record even making it through the primary in California or New York?!! Well, this guy pulled it off.

Santorum is no dummy. There’s something clicking with him upstairs.


28 posted on 02/17/2012 7:32:25 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Pray Continued Victory for our Troops Still in Afghan!)
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To: Brices Crossroads
Right, and only a month ago, Santorum was “Deadman Walking”.

Only a million votes have been cast to date and barely 100 out of over 1,100 have been awarded to any one candidate. But “It's ALL OVER NOW!” “President” Santorum won, Newt is “Dead-Man-walking”..........

(Keep repeating that to yourself in the mirror.)

29 posted on 02/17/2012 7:38:13 AM PST by PSYCHO-FREEP (If you come to a fork in the road, take it........)
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To: Kaslin
the more I am convinced Rick Santorum is the Candidate for me

Newt, however, is the man for America. Slick rick can't hold a candle to Newt's accomplishments and knowledge of how to get things done. Newt is the visionary and has already proven himself.

30 posted on 02/17/2012 8:13:06 AM PST by presently no screen name
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To: Kaslin

Santorum has the Obamatrons wetting themselves....

Obama Campaign Weighs Santorum
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2847809/posts

They were counting on Romney being the nominee so they could suppress GOP turnout and hand the election to O-Jackass who gives us 4 more years of destruction and slavery.


31 posted on 02/17/2012 8:13:16 AM PST by RasterMaster ("Towering genius disdains a beaten path." - Abraham Lincoln)
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To: palmerizedCaddis

Newt is the man for America. Only those who are drawn to LIARS support slick rick and mitt the moron.


32 posted on 02/17/2012 8:16:07 AM PST by presently no screen name
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To: Kaslin
Santorum's interview with Charlie Rose suggests he might be Obama's worst nightmare as well...
33 posted on 02/17/2012 8:16:13 AM PST by exist
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To: Brices Crossroads
have heavily Italian populations

You have the same mindset as those of race. Forget their qualifications, he's catholic, he's Italian, let's vote for him. You are the type who is bringing down America! You'll never be able to wash off that stain!

34 posted on 02/17/2012 8:20:33 AM PST by presently no screen name
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To: Kenny

Then he looses, I don’t vote or fight for liars. Barry will eat him up and spit him out and that’s when he really gets vetted.


35 posted on 02/17/2012 8:25:29 AM PST by presently no screen name
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To: xzins
Santorum is no dummy.

His supporters are. Who needs the commies to bring us down, Americans are doing it.

36 posted on 02/17/2012 8:30:53 AM PST by presently no screen name
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To: presently no screen name; PSYCHO-FREEP

See post #28.

Those who attack Gingrich OR Santorum are doing Romney’s work.

What I can’t figure out is if it’s accidental or intentional.


37 posted on 02/17/2012 8:31:15 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Pray Continued Victory for our Troops Still in Afghan!)
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To: altura
I am with you about Santorum. Honestly, I am a Newt supporter, but it seems that his day in the sun is over.

I like Santorum, and truly believe he is a decent man. My only big issue with him is that he does not seem to demonstrate that he has any real leadership abilities at all.

We need a conservative president who will march into the White House and not play along with the GOG establishment there.

He has simply not demonstrated to me that he is that kind of a guy. He doesn't strike me as a man with a real plan.

I'd like to see him publish real step-by-step plans about resolving the issue we have, instead of simply stating he is not like Obama, Newt or Romney. When he does, he will easily beat Obama if he were to get the nomination.

For now, I am sticking it out with Newt, until it becomes obvious that he cannot win the nomination. I am not sure of that, yet. Things change from week to week, it seems.

38 posted on 02/17/2012 8:32:33 AM PST by Preachin' (I stand with many voters who will never vote for a pro abortion candidate.)
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To: Carry_Okie

Agree Carry.

Gingrich didn’t respond well to the Rombo machine guns...So far, Santorum is doing a much better job.

Romney campaign doesn’t know what to do. The character assassination which they deemed successful against Gingrich in Fla. is no longer working for them.

Could it be that voters are turned off to Saul Alinsky type negative attacks from the Karl Rove playbook for RINO type Mittens victories?

Speaking of, Tokyo looked like he forgot to take his Metamucil last night on Fox. He’s worried ..

Would you not love to be a fly on the wall in Coulter’s bedroom if Rick wins Michigan on the 28th? Batton the hatches and watch for flying remotes and champagne glasses.


39 posted on 02/17/2012 8:35:07 AM PST by Mountain Mary (Freedom is at stake in this election. Rick Santorum)
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To: xzins
Those who attack Gingrich OR Santorum are doing Romney’s work.

Then WAKE UP because slick Rick HAS attacked Newt! He's a POS and IS working for mitt!

40 posted on 02/17/2012 8:35:46 AM PST by presently no screen name
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To: presently no screen name

King Hussein appreciates your support.


41 posted on 02/17/2012 8:36:50 AM PST by RasterMaster ("Towering genius disdains a beaten path." - Abraham Lincoln)
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To: Preachin'

http://www.ricksantorum.com/issues

“He has simply not demonstrated to me that he is that kind of a guy. He doesn’t strike me as a man with a real plan.”

He has more of a plan than any of the others. And look at what his value system is rather than expect him to have a multi-level plan at this point.
It’ll also be about the kind of people he will pick to surround him and help him..and I think he will choose wisely ..and know that he can’t do it alone.


42 posted on 02/17/2012 8:41:17 AM PST by Mountain Mary (Freedom is at stake in this election. Rick Santorum)
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To: presently no screen name

I’m not talking about the candidates comparing their strengths and weaknesses.

Of course Rick is going to say he has the edge over Newt, and of course Newt will say he has the edge over Rick.

However, when the media or the internet attack Newt or Rick, then I have RomneySlime Machine experience now, and I know what a Romney inspired attack looks like.

On sites like ours, it pretends to be all about “conservative purity”.


43 posted on 02/17/2012 8:41:36 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Pray Continued Victory for our Troops Still in Afghan!)
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To: Kaslin

FOX is amping up the drumbeat against Santorum...not surprised


44 posted on 02/17/2012 8:43:30 AM PST by wardaddy (I am a social conservative. My political party left me(again). They can go to hell in a bucket.)
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To: Kaslin

FOX is amping up the drumbeat against Santorum...not surprised


45 posted on 02/17/2012 8:45:01 AM PST by wardaddy (I am a social conservative. My political party left me(again). They can go to hell in a bucket.)
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To: RasterMaster
You ain't too bright. He appreciates Rick and you - as Newt is Barry's greatest threat.

RS is a wimp who is wet behind the ears who hasn't been vetted and given a pass in the debates - they let him rant on and said nothing.

But he won't get that far in the nomination and he will end up supporting his friend and your friend, mitt. He campaigned loudly for mitt, a pro home marriage pro abortion big gov't healthcare candidate. Slick Rick is a liar/deceiver. Only those who are drawn to evil would ever support him.

46 posted on 02/17/2012 8:46:56 AM PST by presently no screen name
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To: Carry_Okie

Santorum has a bit less baggage...never Speaker, less wives, less old media fixation.

but he has yet to get the nuclear attack Newt got from FOX, Drudge and 90% of the GOP and Conservative establishment in Iowa and Florida...outspent 20-1 in total negative ads...Newt had to respond

if he does it will hurt him too

I hope that doesn’t happen..at this juncture today it looks like he is the last anti Romney standing

FOX is on him a bit today ..

one day students will study the Newt campaign and the lesson will be that enough money and negative ads and the whole establishment on yer ass can indeed kill your campaign and that if debates are your only tool to beat that then you better ace every one

had Newt gone first in say Texas, Georgia and South Carolina he woulda had a better jumpstart...the first two states were easy for Romney and moderate Florida too

I am surprised but happy to see Romney stalled like this...amazing


47 posted on 02/17/2012 8:51:47 AM PST by wardaddy (I am a social conservative. My political party left me(again). They can go to hell in a bucket.)
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To: PreciousLiberty
Rick Santorum has less baggage than 0bamney or Gingrich.

First, nobody has as much baggage as Obam...front and center. Further you just haven't yet seen Rick's baggage..it's coming. Additionally there is no way Rick will stand in the debates with Obam....let alone run the country. He hasn't a clue and that's just the fact. We have no time for Rick's learning curve to play out if he's elected....the nation is in peril and you're believing an MT can do the work of a skilled surgeon...that's a not.

48 posted on 02/17/2012 8:54:03 AM PST by caww
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To: PreciousLiberty
Rick Santorum has less baggage than 0bamney or Gingrich.

First, nobody has as much baggage as Obam...front and center. Further you just haven't yet seen Rick's baggage..it's coming. Additionally there is no way Rick will stand in the debates with Obam....let alone run the country. He hasn't a clue and that's just the fact. We have no time for Rick's learning curve to play out if he's elected....the nation is in peril and you're believing an MT can do the work of a skilled surgeon...that's a not.

49 posted on 02/17/2012 8:54:07 AM PST by caww
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To: USS Alaska

The thing about that “Rombo” ad is that it paints Romney as sort of a goof ball caracature. They should continue this with other ads using the same actor portraying Mitt doing stupid things. Then when folks see the real Mitt, they immediately compare him to the goof ball and no one will take him seriously. Eventually Mitt becomes the actor in the ads. No one wants to vote for a cartoon. Perfect.


50 posted on 02/17/2012 8:57:30 AM PST by inkfarmer
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