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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Enough Complaining, Candidates and Advisers!



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On almost any given day in a presidential campaign, you can count on some surrogate for a candidate saying something problematic for the candidate.

One of the milder ones today:

Mr. Santorum’s campaign rejected Mr. Gingrich’s analysis, voicing the prevailing view that Mr. Gingrich would succeed only in dividing the anti-Romney vote.

“If he were out of this race, we wouldn’t just be beating Mitt Romney, we’d be crushing him,” Hogan Gidley, a senior adviser to the Santorum campaign, said Wednesday. “We wouldn’t have won every state that Romney won, but we sure would have won a lot more of them.”

Well, Gingrich isn’t out of this race. So deal with it. Stop describing how your candidate could be so much further ahead if the circumstances were different. The circumstances are the circumstances. Every candidate and every campaign has to deal with factors that are not ideal. Almost every candidate runs better in a one-on-one race because the vote is split into fewer groups. If Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich dropped out, yes, some, perhaps most, of their support would go to Santorum. But some would go to Romney. And some would express disinterest in the remaining candidates.

Right now, you’re in a four-way race and there’s a good chance you’ll be in a four-way race all the way to the convention. So go out and try to win the four-way race. Dislodge those supporters of those other candidates, win them over. This is what a campaign is supposed to do.

In Wednesday’s Morning Jolt, I looked at Rick Santorum’s complaint that Fox News is “in the tank” for Romney. I’m sure every candidate has days when they feel they’re not getting the kind of media coverage they deserve, when they start to see all of the reporters covering them as a bunch of rabid jackals, but… at some point, you have to hold that urge to complain in check.

On Tuesday’s “Kilmeade & Friends” radio show on Fox News Radio, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, accused Fox News of being in the tank for his competitor, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Santorum made that claim as part of a larger point, that despite having a lot of things in his favor Romney has been unable to seal the deal.

“The man has had a 10-to-1 money advantage,” Santorum said. “He’s had all the organizational advantage. He’s had Fox News shilling for him every day, no offense Brian but I see it. And yet, he can’t close — he can’t seal the deal because he just doesn’t have the goods to be able to motivate the Republican base and win this election.”

Host Brian Kilmeade rejected Santorum’s charge and said that Santorum has been given the opportunity to appear on FNC as much as Romney.

“On Fox News shilling for Mitt Romney, I totally disagree with that,” Kilmeade said. “You can feel the way you want. I’m just telling you there’s no way I agree with that and you’ve been on as much as anyone.”

At Hot Air, Allahpundit examines the complaint and concludes, “Three possibilities. One: Fox is spending an undue amount of time on the delegate count, emphasizing that mathematically it’s almost impossible for Santorum to win. I haven’t watched much cable news lately but is that the sense our resident Fox-watchers get? If so, how much time is an undue amount of time? We’re more than two months past Iowa and a week removed from Super Tuesday. Time to start counting delegates, folks. Two: Maybe Santorum’s just a whiner. He’s complained before about Drudge being in the tank for Romney too, but in that case there’s at least circumstantial evidence to support it. In the case of Fox, what’s the smoking gun? Santorum was on “Hannity” just last night to dump on Bill Maher. Palin, the network’s most high profile contributor, is a Gingrich fan. Aside from the occasional Ann Coulter guest appearance, who’s supposedly shilling for Romney on FNC? Three: Maybe he’s saying this for strategic reasons, using Fox’s “course correction” back towards the center last year to cast Romney as the choice of the Republican establishment’s favorite news network.”

At GOP12, Christian Heinze reminds us, “Rupert Murdoch famously made shows of support for Santorum twice this cycle. Just before the  Iowa caucuses, he tweeted that Santorum was the “only candidate with genuine big vision.” Then, one week before Michigan’s primary, he tweeted that if Santorum won Michigan, the nomination fight would be over. ‘From distance, Santorum doing great. Values really do count in America, and not sneered at as in parts of Europe. Win Michigan game over.’ That’s more forceful an endorsement than you’d ever expect from the head of a news organization, particularly for an underdog.”

Don Surber writes, “Let’s see, the Republican Establishment is against him, Matt Drudge is against him and now Fox News is against him. Maybe the problem is not that they are shilling for Mitt but rather that they are chilling to Rick.”

Kevin Eder: “I’m so old I remember when @RickSantorum worked for Fox News. Now? He just whines about them.”


Tags: Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rick Santorum


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