Rick Santorum continues to attack in GOP debates

The last debate was pretty good to former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum. He got some shots in at former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain and tripped up Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Santorum, always passionate and forceful, has to be careful he doesn’t come across to GOP voters as angry.

If he helps put a dent in Cain, Santorum will face a weak field of conservatives — giving him a chance to get a little traction in Iowa.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is all but invisible these days. Cain, while ascendant, is reluctant to stray from his talking points. There’s room for a combative conservative on stage — and Santorum is perfect for the role.

We’ll probably see more attacks on Cain from Santorum in Las Vegas tonight, especially on Cain’s omnipresent 9-9-9 plan. Santorum’s Senate background has informed his skepticism of Cain’s plans.

One area of improvement for the former senator would be to make his social values appeal more natural. In the New Hampshire economic debate, Santorum’s last-minute reference to family — competely with a tortured Greek lesson — felt forced. He could take a page from the once-formidable Bachmann on how to tie economic policy and social conservatism together in a more persuasive way.

Read more at PostPolitics.com

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Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

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