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Right Turn
Posted at 04:17 PM ET, 03/02/2012

Santorum takes the bait

I have received two requests for comment on Rush Limbaugh’s “slut” comment (in reference to Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University student who testified that the government should pay for contraception) from a fellow working for a left-wing Soros group masquerading as a news outfit. Needless to say I don’t respond to faux journalists, and I have nothing to say about a radio talk show host’s comments.

But as silly as it would be for me to weigh in on Limbaugh verbiage (recall, he’s not in office and is not running for office) it is positively nuts for the president of the United States to call up Fluke. He’s leader of the Free World, for goodness sakes. This is what he finds a good use of his time? But of course he does, because every second of his day and every syllable he utters is directed to one end: Reelection. So it makes perfect sense to pander to single women voters (a two-for because he needs college kids as well!).

And then in wades Rick Santorum, who has only a few days to save his campaign and has been struggling to get back on an economic message. What does he do? He pops off on CNN (Wolf Blitzer luring him into a cul-de-sac of distraction) on Limbaugh’s remark: “He’s being absurd, but that’s you know, an entertainer can be absurd. He’s in a very different business than I am.” Thunk.

Santorum flunks “Message Discipline 101.” Just as he wandered into the topic of gay marriage in New Hampshire he’s now straying into “What do you think of Limbaugh’s comment?” on the eve of Ohio. The answer (free advice alert) for Santorum should be: “Wolf, I’m running for the presidency of the United States. We’ve got really, really big problems, so let’s talk about them.”

Yes, yes, I can hear the complaint from Santorum-land already: The media is raising extraneous stuff ! That may be. (But Wolf sure did prove that Santorum has a problem sticking to the topic.) However, if Santorum doesn’t have the campaign smarts to steer clear of stray issues and self-censor (he wanted to “throw up” over JFK’s speech, he felt compelled to tell us) then he’s simply not up to the task of running for president in the New Media era.

I did contact Mitt Romney’s campaign for comment. I got no response, which is probably the smartest thing a Republican presidential candidate offering himself as the grown-up can do. Really, if anything Romney should blast the president: He has time for this but not a budget, entitlement reform or serious debt reduction? It may just be that the guy who wins the GOP presidential nomination is the one smart enough to know when to shut up.

UPDATE (5:00 p.m.): Rick Santorum is having one heck of a rotten day. Here’s an excerpt from a positively horrible radio interview on Bill Cunningham’s radio show in Cincinnati. Santorum is angry and confrontational, essentially conceding he can’t reach non-religious voters. Moreover, his claim that he won “church-going” Catholics in Michigan is entirely unsupported by any polling data. (And we know he doesn’t have his own pollster.) Even worse, he was called out by yesterday’s interviewer Scott Sloan, who termed Santorum’s claim that he called back after getting cut off a “bald faced lie.” Cunningham and Sloan then discuss Santorum’s assertion that he shouldn’t get back to economic issues. Yikes.

By  |  04:17 PM ET, 03/02/2012

Categories:  2012 campaign, Media

 
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