CP Politics

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014

Santorum: La. Voters Want Candidate With Principles Written on Heart, Not Erasable Tablet

  • (Photo: REUTERS/Sean Gardner)
    Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum addresses supporters at a Get Out The Vote rally in Mandeville, Louisiana March 21, 2012. Louisiana's primary will be held on Saturday March 24th.
March 25, 2012|1:03 pm

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum easily won the Louisiana primary Saturday with 49 percent of the vote. Pundits are saying, however, that the victory is likely too little and too late to overcome Mitt Romney's lead, and he has not shown an ability to expand beyond his mostly Southern, rural and evangelical base.

Santorum credited the Romney campaign's "Etch a Sketch" gaffe for the win in a Sunday interview on CBS' "Face the Nation."

"Even though a lot of folks are saying this race is over, people in Louisiana said, 'no it's not,' they still want to see someone who they can trust. Someone who's not running an Etch a Sketch campaign, but one that has their principles written on their heart, not on an erasable tablet. That's what helped us deliver the win in Louisiana," Santorum said.

Strategist Eric Fehrnstrom had said that the Romney campaign was like the "Etch a Sketch" child's toy in that they would be able to erase all the negativity from the primary and introduce the candidate anew to voters after winning the nomination.

Santorum and fellow candidate Newt Gingrich have suggested that the comment meant that Romney would not stay true to the conservative principles he espoused during the nomination race if he becomes the nominee.

Santorum had his own gaffe this week when he seemed to suggest that he would not support Romney if he becomes the nominee to face President Barack Obama.

"You win by giving people a choice. You win by giving people the opportunity to see a different vision for our country, not someone who's going to just be a little different than the person in there. If you're going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk with what may be the etch-a-sketch candidate for the future," Santorum said during a speech in San Antonio.

He clarified those remarks in the "Face the Nation" interview. He said that he meant that voters would not see a difference between the candidates if Romney were elected, but he, personally, will support the Republican nominee.

"I'm going to support whoever the Republican nominee is," Santorum explained. "I'm running this campaign because I think Barack Obama's reelection will be the end of freedom as we know it here in America. We're going to support whoever it is, but we want someone who can win. Someone who can go up against Barack Obama and actually draw a contrast on the big issues of the day."

Most observers now believe that Santorum no longer has a chance to get the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination, and is most likely hoping for a contested convention. Even Gingrich admitted this.

"This is either going to be Romney, or an open convention. Santorum's not going to get to 1,144. I'm not going to 1,144. Ron Paul's not going to get to 1,144," he said Friday in Louisiana.

Brit Hume, political analyst for Fox News, believes, though, that a race to force a contested convention will not appeal to many voters.

"He's basically in a position where all he can hope to do is deny Romney a majority and force a contested or brokered convention. Awareness of that will sink in with voters. So, it's a different matter to vote for someone you think can win and vote somebody because you think you can keep the other guy from winning and you extend a contest that I think is making Republicans increasingly nervous and anxious as we go forward. So, I think the odds for Santorum are very long indeed and this next month will only reinforce that," Hume said on "Fox News Sunday."

Santorum won nearly every demographic group in Louisiana, except those making more than $200,000, which went to Romney, according to CNN exit polls.

He won 56 percent of the evangelical vote, which accounted for 57 percent of voters. Santorum's share of the non-evangelical vote (38 percent) was about the same as Romney's (35 percent).

The next contests will the the Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin primaries on April 3.

Contact: napp.nazworth@christianpost.com, @NappNazworth (Twitter)
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