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Santorum’s show playing to mostly empty rooms

By CAPITOL HILL BLUE
April 3, 2012

OK, WHO CUT THE CHEESE? Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, accompanied by his wife Karen, holds a cheese head hat at Simon's Specialty Cheese in Appleton, Wis., Monday, April 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum’s rural road show is running out of gas. The candidate once considered the last remaining serious contender to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the GOP Presidential nomination is playing to nearly empty houses.

Campaigning in Wisconsin, where he hopes the rural redneck vote will pull help him upset frontrunner Romney, Santorum speaks to rooms with more empty chairs than potential voters.  A rally Monday in Oshkosh drew less than 100.  He did slightly better in Shawano with just over a hundred and doubled that to about 200 in Menasha.

“Santorum’s empty rhetoric is translating into empty rooms,” a long-time GOP consultant told Capitol Hill Blue Monday.  “He’s running on fumes.”

Polls show Romney with substantial leads in Tuesday’s Wisconsin and Maryland primaries as he heads into a month that favors his campaign.  Wins in both states will pad his lead for the nomination and increase his chances of locking up the nomination by June.

But Santorum clings to the hope that his small-town strategy will work.

In Oshkosh, he urged:

I’m asking small-town America, rural America, and rural Wisconsin to come out and speak loudly tomorrow. I need your help and support, but I need you to leave here. Call, pick up the phone, call 10 friends, we’ll get around and say hi to everyone, take pictures. Post them on Facebook. Send your tweets out. Send your emails out. Get folks to the polls. Take the day off tomorrow. It’s on me.

Will it work? GOP strategists have their doubts.

“It’s a long shot but a long shot is all Santorum has left,” says Republican operative Jan Black.  “He has to scramble and try anything.”

A source inside the Santorum campaign said the candidate was “shocked and dismayed” when popular Republican Rep. Paul Ryan endorsed Romney.

“Man, that one hurt,” a Santorum aide told Capitol Hill Blue.  “It sucked the hot air right out of our balloon.”

With the GOP establishment lining up behind Romney, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich scaling back his campaign and Texas Congressman Ron Paul a non-factor, Santorum is the only one standing in the way of Romney’s oncoming train.

“The Romney train is coming,” grumbles one Santorum aide.  “It looks like we had better jump on board or get the hell out of the way.”

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6 Responses to Santorum’s show playing to mostly empty rooms

  1. Sandy Price

    April 3, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Senator Santorum broke the Separation of Church and State and paid the price. Not all Americans are Christians and should not be forced into following the bible over the US Constitution. Religion is a choice not a given.

    • Keith

      April 4, 2012 at 7:29 am

      Bingo!

  2. Jim B.

    April 3, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Well, this reminds me of Mitt Romney playing to an empty room a couple of days ago on April 1st. –> Mitt Romney April Fools’ Day Joke: Staff Pulls Prank On GOP Presidential Candidate (VIDEO): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/01/mitt-romney-april-fools-day-joke_n_1395191.html

    You probably saw it…It was all over the news.

    And all of this reminds me of a belated April Fool’s joke by NBC….They rolled out the red carpet to Sarah Palin to be the co-host of the Today show this morning….unfortunately, it was not a joke…She was really on the show.

  3. Sandy Price

    April 4, 2012 at 9:23 am

    What frightens me the most is the anger and emotions behind the Santorum agenda. He knows that the majority of Americans are Christians and have been raised on the morals of obeying the prohibitions found in all the Christian churches. He simply developed a political agenda of putting those prohibitions within his own personal political campaign. He is young energentic dedicated man and will never stop working for what he believes is in the best interest of America.

    I received an email from Dr. Ron Paul’s organization with his message to work for the next election of all candidates who believe in Liberty. In my opinion Paul lost contact with his base when he returned to the GOP.

    Neither of these men have a clue about individual freedoms. As individuals we all want a world filled with honest and loving people but we must never believe that these must be Christians. 100 years ago this belief might have been closer to the truth but today, our leaders simply use the label “Christian” as a path to success. I’ve seen one Christian leader enter the race and back out before being tainted by the political actions of the GOP. Gov. Huckabee was smarter than all the others and protected his own individual love of his church.

    • Jim B.

      April 4, 2012 at 12:18 pm

      RE: Santorum, I agree, Sandy….I think it was the columnist, Kathleen Parker, who said that Santorum was the right man…”for the 19th century.”

  4. Jon

    April 4, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    I suppose it would be rude to point out that his campaign, in my opinion, appealed also to those with empty heads.

    Perhaps someone was thinking about that when they selected the picture to run alongside this article.

    J.