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Right Turn
Posted at 06:14 PM ET, 03/19/2012

Maybe Santorum really doesn’t care about the economy so much

The Mitt Romney camp is nothing if not quick. I spotted a potential mega-gaffe by Rick Santorum on Twitter and within minutes (and before I could get comment from Romney’s campaign) the Romney team sent around this:

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul e-mailed out this reaction: “Wow. Sen. Santorum may not care about the unemployment rate in this country or the nearly 24 million Americans struggling for work, but Mitt Romney does and is running to get people back to work. If anyone needed evidence that Rick Santorum is an economic lightweight, they needn’t look any further than his various statements today. We’re not going to turn around this economy by replacing one former senator with zero job-creating experience with another senator with zero job-creating experience. He has proven it once again.”

Santorum seemed to be saying the immediate economic condition didn’t matter to his campaign; He was after a broader message of freedom. Well, yikes.

The worst sorts of gaffes are the ones that confirm pre-existing narratives. In Santorum’s case, the dig is that he is so ideologically driven and so wrapped up in social issues that he neglects the economy. Politico reports: “On the issue Republicans tell pollsters is the most important of 2012, Rick Santorum these days has very little to say. . . . Since winning primaries in Alabama and Mississippi, Santorum’s standard remarks have generally excluded an economic plan — the heart and soul of the message his chief GOP rival, Mitt Romney, repeats at event after event, day after day.”

This is in large part why Santorum is losing the race. He’s genuinely concerned and absorbed by the social issues and delights in talking about anything and everything. But voters care about the economy. And a presidential campaign needs a sharply defined and consistent message. Now Santorum will spend a day or so telling us how his words were “misconstrued.” Well if that is happening a lot, it’s the candidate’ fault.

In sum, this is not an isolated gaffe; Rather, it’s a vivid example of why Santorum doesn’t appear to be the right candidate for the times.

By  |  06:14 PM ET, 03/19/2012

Categories:  2012 campaign

 
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