santorumjeans

Things are coming full circle for Rick Santorum: he started out the GOP presidential race largely ignored, even Dangerfieldian, and constantly complaining about the lack press coverage. Now everybody from Politico to the New Yorker is arguing (correctly) that he can't stop Romney's delegate race for the party nomination. The candidate has already written off the Romney-loving Drudge Report (for good reason) and the house organ of the establishment GOP is ignoring him too. From Walter Shapiro at CJR's Swing State Project, after watching 10 hours of Fox News yesterday:

I can understand why the show’s producers were irresistibly attracted to a fun-never-stops Romney video of the candidate in Wisconsin being punked on April Fool’s Day by being led into an empty room for a speech. The on-screen Chyron for the Romney segment read, “A GOOD SPORT.” But during the two hours of the show most likely to be watched in Wisconsin (which is on Central Time), the only extended discussion of Santorum came courtesy of conservative firebrand Ann Coulter, a Romney supporter. Coulter appeared on set armed with poison-tipped talking points: “Rick Santorum is not the most conservative candidate in the race…. Rick Santorum voted six times to re-fund the National Endowment for the Arts…. This is not Ford versus Reagan; if anything, Romney is closer to Reagan.” Small wonder that host Steve Doocy said archly at the end of the segment, “She’s for Mitt Romney, can you tell?”

Even Esquire has teed up the former Pa senator for a running kick of the Fratelli Rosettis to the groin: "Some nice cowboy boots, a decent navy blazer, a safe checked shirt — and the worst pair of jeans that has ever been seen on a man's legs in America," this guy wrote of the ensemble above. No big deal though, as Petrus is aligned with GQ anyway.

Pennsylvania remains his last hope, though the atmosphere was pretty down at his event north of Pittsburgh last night, and even close friends like state Sen. Jake Corman are saying a Pa loss would probably mean the end to his bid. He has three long weeks to go before he can possibly hope to gain some momentum going forth into Texas, and has no choice but to keep guaranteeing victory in his home state. While he could have been much, much harsher to Santorum under the circumstances, F&M politics guru Terry Madonna also gets a swing of the loafer at the candidate's chances, in a column called "Santorum's Last Stand":

Santorum’s rise and fall carries with it enough paradox to launch a Russian novel or two. It’s hard to miss the irony that a campaign beginning in a defeat for reelection to the senate six years ago could end with another defeat six years later in the same state. Perhaps the supreme twist, though, is that Pennsylvania’s chronically late voting Republicans may finally get a primary that matters.Enigmatically however, they get it only by dumping the first Pennsylvanian to seriously run for president in almost half a century.

The Romney camp is in a great situation in Pa, meanwhile, where a win should knock Santorum out of the race but a loss wouldn't be a big deal either. Its superior organization should be able to count on the balance of the state's 72 undesignated delegates anyway. From Kit Seelye at the NYT:

The Romney team is lowering its own prospects for Pennsylvania while raising the bar for Mr. Santorum.

“We expect Senator Santorum to win Pennsylvania,” said Russ Schriefer, a top media strategist for Mr. Romney. “After all, it is his home state, and much like Governor Romney won Massachusetts with over 70 percent and Speaker Gingrich won Georgia with 47 percent, you’d expect that Santorum would win there. That said, Governor Romney looks forward to campaigning in Pennsylvania and competing for delegates.”

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