Rick Santorum likely to turn in another aggressive performance at Reagan Library debate

September 7, 2011

After a so-so performance in the Ames Straw Poll, the former Pennsylvania senator is running a consistent, low-budget but longshot grassroots campaign.

At the same time, he has shown a willingness to mix it up with his colleagues, including Rick Perry.

Does Santorum take a leading role in going after the Texas governor in Tuesday night’s debate at the Reagan Presidential Library? Or is he beat to the punch by the likes of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), who smartly was the first candidate to launch an anti-Perry ad this week.

At the same time, being too critical of Perry risks alienating the governor’s many supporters.

Whatever the case, Santorum’s prospects probably rest on the Perry boomlet receding. If Perry has a hard night and people continue to question Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-Minn.) electability, that could bode well for Santorum.

Whether that’s enough to make the conservative a real contender is another matter altogether, however.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
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