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Morning Mix: Can Santorum’s Religious Backers Take Down Romney?

Morning Mix: Can Santorum’s Religious Backers Take Down Romney?

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has already become the first non-incumbent to win both Iowa and New Hampshire, and if he can get South Carolina it will be an unheard of three for three sweep.  It also has the potential to leave him the inevitable Republican nominee for president.

It’s for that reason that the religious right has decided this weekend to make one final stand to stop him.  Their weapon of choice?  Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.

According to Politico, “The group of social conservative leaders meeting in Texas this weekend has thrown their support behind Rick Santorum, giving the GOP hopeful a much-needed boost a week before the pivotal South Carolina primary.  In a conference call this afternoon, Family Research Council chief Tony Perkins said that on the third ballot Santorum won a solid majority of votes from the movement conservatives gathered at a private ranch near Houston.”

The endorsement, which seems to mostly involve those in or aligned with Family Research Council, such as Perkins, James Dobson and Gary Bauer, had been long discussed as a possibility, but, much like in Iowa, seemed to take forever to actually come to fruition.   And despite consistently forcing candidates hold to straight social conservative pledges on issues like reproductive rights and gay marriage, the group is claiming to be putting those issues off the front burner.  “According to Perkins, those at the summit listed repealing the federal health care overhaul as their top concern, followed by the national debt and abortion,” Fox News reports.

The move does signal the continuing refrain that despite everything, “Romney is not inevitable.”  It’s one that Santorum himself is echoing as he now attempts to position himself as more electable that the current frontrunner. “You want to win this election? Then we’ve got to go to the states where you win the election, and it’s Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, North Carolina, Missouri, Wisconsin. How do you win elections as a Republican in these states? You do it by getting Reagan Democrats to vote for you. I respect Mitt Romney’s career in business, but as the grandson of a coal miner, who grew up in public housing in a steel town in Western Pennsylvania…and whose record is a track record of working in those blue-collar communities, [I have] a much better chance of winning those states than an executive from Bain Capital.”

Will the consolidating of the religious right help Santorum?  One thing for sure, it’s probably likely to help Romney, at least when it comes to the general election.  Once Romney does win the nomination, he can point to this moment as a talking point to prove that he is a moderate in order to win independent votes.

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Photo from IowaPolitics.com via flickr creative commons

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160 comments

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4:58PM PST on Feb 6, 2012

The loonatics have taken over the asylum!

11:36AM PST on Jan 17, 2012

I think we did to rethink how the primaries are done. We should do one in the NE, then NW, MNW, W, SE, SW, E, MSW, etc. We concentrate too much on MW, NE and SE in the beginning, which seems to be a breeding ground for ultra radical right-wing folks. We need to give these politicians a better feel of how all Americans are feeling before moderate men like Huntsman have to bail-out.

I'm a Independent turned Democrat and wouldn't have voted for him anyway, but it just seemed to me while watching the Republican primary this year that it is very unfair to anyone who is moderate in anyway.

9:15AM PST on Jan 17, 2012

(in a low hungry voice) Breed humans

3:01AM PST on Jan 17, 2012

I find it ironic that back during Abraham Lincoln's time, it was the republicans that freed the slaves. Now they want to make slaves out of everyone but the rich. Same name, but they are not the same.

12:24AM PST on Jan 17, 2012

noted.

9:47PM PST on Jan 16, 2012

Thank you.

9:24PM PST on Jan 16, 2012

The simple answer is NO, Mr. Santorum's religious backers cannot take down Mr. Romney.
It's clear, those that support Mr. Santonum, don't know him very well. His wife had an abortion in her third trimester, for health reasons. He says he doesn't believe in abortion, under any circumstances.
He claimed to have lived in Pennsylvania to get tuition credits for his children, while he and his family did not occupy the house. They lived in Virginia, I believe.

He's a phony and a hypocrite.
He's too extreme for most anyone with a thinking brain.

7:55PM PST on Jan 16, 2012

DO, you stated "You and I both know that if he were elected the congress would shut him down on birth control. That dog won't hunt. This is what I meant by hyperbole...emotional exaggeration...when, in fact, if we exercised our common sense, we could immediately sort through what we know can never happen. Santorum can't get rid of birth control and he won't be preaching from the Oval Office. Common sense is all that is needed here."

Actually if Santorum won (which he won't) he might be able to get rid of birth control if we have as many tea partyers and far right christian so-called representatives. So that should make your day.

7:39PM PST on Jan 16, 2012

We're surrounded by idiots!

7:30PM PST on Jan 16, 2012

You know...I thought that huge lead Santorum had disappeared quite mysteriously. so....maybe it isn't so at all!

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