wpostServer: http://css.washingtonpost.com/wpost2

Most Read: Opinions

direct signup

Today’s Opinions poll

Should Congress deal with the immigration crisis -- tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors at the border -- before its August recess?

Submit
Next
Review your answers and share

Join a Discussion

Weekly schedule, past shows

The Insiders
Posted at 01:45 PM ET, 01/06/2012

Crucibles for Santorum, Romney

Rick Santorum is not ending the week the way it started or the way he wanted.

But every hour in New Hampshire matters between now and Tuesday, so things could get better or worse for any of the presidential candidates. But suffice it to say, Santorum doesn’t appear to have found a message or an audience in New Hampshire so far. Momentum produces a window of opportunity, not a certain result.

And downrange, things don’t look any clearer. Check out the Red State blog to see the problems that Santorum has before him in South Carolina. He is crosswise with the incredibly popular Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) over earmarks. The evangelicals in the state believe in redemption and forgiveness, and Santorum could certainly use some from DeMint.

According to political activists in South Carolina and Florida, it appears that Newt Gingrich still has some affirmative support, more so than Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Gingrich has to decide if his campaign is a grievance-filled victimhood tour against Mitt Romney or a campaign to gain as many votes as possible for himself. Saturday’s debate in Manchester will probably answer that question. Carter is right about the stakes in the debate. Romney is in a strong position, but he can’t hide or coast during the debate. He still has some selling to do. Saturday’s debate is probably the single most important event in the campaign so far.

Oh, by the way, GOP political operatives are increasingly mentioning signs of an improving economy. If this becomes true, it would conflict Republicans. We can’t bad-mouth growing optimism, but we also can’t say that the worst is over. More later.

By  |  01:45 PM ET, 01/06/2012

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company