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Newslinks for Thursday Feb 23: Santorum gets bad reviews for debate performance

Posted on 02/23/2012


  • "Mitt Romney challenged Rick Santorum’s credentials as a fiscal conservative in a fiercely combative debate on Wednesday, trying to redefine Mr. Santorum as part of the problem in Washington and regain his footing in the fight for the Republican presidential nomination." - New York Times
  • The debate got heated early during a discussion of fiscal policy when the former Massachusetts governor drilled into Santorum for voting to raise the debt ceiling five times and seeking scores of earmarks - LA Times
  • Tempers flare as Santorum, Romney trade barbs, blame for healthcare reform - The Hill
  • "Santorum said that Romney had used government funds to mount a “federal takeover” of the health-care system while serving as governor of Massachusetts" - Politico
  • Poll after poll has found that, for conservatives, compromise has become a dirty word... so, Charles Blow asks: "Was it a foolish for Rick Santorum to admit that when he was a senator he would sometimes “take one for the team, for the leader”?" - New York Times
  • Ron Paul calls Santorum a 'fake' at GOP debate - The Hill


  • "Rick Santorum’s night was defined by explaining why he voted for things he opposed (NCLB, Title X). He’s right that politics is a “team sport” (at least most of the time), but that’s not the best posture to be defending when you’re occupying his slot in a Republican presidential primary." - Rich Lowry on NRO
  • "Having heard a little more than an hour of the Republican debate on Wednesday evening, my gut reaction was that it was a disaster for Rick Santorum and a solid night for Mitt Romney. Santorum was booed repeatedly while cheers for Romney sounded more enthusiastic than anything I've heard since Florida." - Ross Kaminsky for the American Spectator
  • Romney earns poor marks - Daily Caller
  • Santorum flops in the debate spotlight - Commentary
  • Tough night for Santorum - HotAir
  • It was the last debate and Gingrich won it - RedState
  • "Newt Gingrich won the debate, hands down. These contests are like air to him. For his purposes, there have been far too few of late. He is the kind of professor who will always be popular with students because he is clear, concise, and great at tracing out an argument. The audience were his students. He delivered the material beautifully. Everything depends on whether GOP voters have finally settled in the belief that he is too damaged for serious consideration. If he rebounds while Santorum falls, it’s happy days for Romney again." - Hunter Baker for NRO
  • Mitt managed the seemingly impossible task of outflanking Rick from the right - Paul Begala for the Daily Beast

Declining audiences for debates mean there'll be no encores - New York Times

Polls seem to suggest that Santorum is as electable as Romney - WSJ

38% see Santorum as too conservative; 51% see Obama as too liberal

Screen Shot 2012-02-23 at 11.05.23

A USA Today poll finds a rock landscape for both Democrats and Republicans.

Oklahoma's Tom Coburn is the most conservative member of the Senate, while New Yorker Kirsten Gillibrand and Oregon's Jeff Merkley share the title of top liberals, according to National Journal's 2011 Congressional Vote Ratings - National Journal

Romney is getting less support from small donors than other GOP candidates - Washington Post

Neither Romney nor Santorum looks like a formidable candidate for November - George Will for the Washington Post

"GOP leaders are watching with rising dismay as the 2012 presidential campaign has featured excursions into social issues like contraception and a sprint by the candidates to strike the toughest stance against illegal immigration, which they say are far removed from the workaday concerns of the independent voters Republicans need to evict Barack Obama from the White House." - Politico

...More on social conservatism...

  • Democrats will gain from contraception issue - Washington Post
  • "Rick Santorum on Wednesday showed no signs of backing down from his provocative statements about President Obama and religion, accusing the president of working to undermine the country’s “Judeo--Christian values” through his implementation of health-care reform and other policies." - Fox
  • Santorum "is rigid and a homophobic" - Romney-supporting former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) issues big blast - The Hill
  • "In the (still-unlikely) event that Santorum captured the nomination, then, his campaign would probably be to social conservatism what Barry Goldwater’s 1964 campaign was to small-government conservatism: A losing effort that would inspire countless observers to declare the loser’s worldview discredited, rejected, finished." - Ross Douthat

Only Ron Paul would keep debt in check says survey

Paul Ron Close Up"The national debt would increase, perhaps dramatically, under the tax and spending plans of the leading Republican presidential candidates, according to an independent budget watchdog group. Leading the way with the most expensive plan is former House speaker Newt Gingrich, followed by former Pennsylvania sennator Rick Santorum and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, says the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Only Rep. Ron Paul of Texas would keep the national debt in check as a percentage of the economy, the group found, because he has proposed by far the largest spending cuts." - USA Today

Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh wondered today whether the hosts of tonight’s GOP presidential nomination debate will ask Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) about repeatedly being double reimbursed for flights - Roll Call

Meanwhile Rand Paul says it would be an honour to be considered for Romney's VP - Daily Caller

Pro-Obama Super-PAC hits Romney on auto bailout - NPR



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