Rick Santorum: The devil was in the details


Rick Santorum, right, reacts to a comment by Rep. Ron Paul during Wednesday’s GOP presidential debate in Mesa, Ariz. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

A close study of the transcript reveals absolutely no mention of Satan — or the devil or Lucifer — at any time during the debate.

Forbes’s counsel, as we noted Wednesday, was offered via a telephone interview with an unknown radio reporter as Forbes took the Acela to Manhattan.

Unfortunately, Santorum didn’t fill the time talking about jobs — never said the word once, our colleague Felicia Sonmez reported.

Instead, with an able assist from Mitt Romney wingman Ron Paul, he lapsed into talk of earmarks, the budget process and such.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, Santorum plunged into a detailed explanation of his views on the one thing that truly concerns all Americans, rich and poor: his support of former Sen. Arlen Specter. Specter’s name came up eight times that evening — as opposed to “children,” which came up 15 times.

Specter, repaying Santorum on Thursday for that support, disputed Santorum’s version of events.

The pundits instantly panned Santorum’s performance. Remains to be seen, though, how much it will affect the vote in the critical Michigan primary Tuesday. (The debate was seen by only 4.7 million people, far fewer than the 5.4 million who watched the Florida debate last month.)

What might be of more significance is the Michigan Democratic Party’s move Wednesday to officially encourage Democrats to crossover vote in the GOP primary. As our colleague Aaron Blake reported, Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer sent an e-mail to supporters encouraging them to make that move.

Of course they may end up voting for Newt.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

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