Santorum wins Missouri, Minnesota; once again Romney has trouble with the base

Washington Post:

Rick Santorum had a breakthrough night on Tuesday, winning presidential contests in Missouri and Minnesota and making a strong showing in Colorado, all of which is expected to breathe life into his struggling campaign and slow Mitt Romney’s march to the Republican presidential nomination.

PoliticalWire has more:

With at least two wins tonight, the best news for Santorum is that he’s got three weeks to raise money for Arizona and Michigan. The next best news is that it was a horrible night for Newt Gingrich.

Ari Berman adds (via twitter):

With 99 % reporting, GOP turnout in Missouri half of what it was in ’08; 249,000 tonight vs 588,000 in ’08 (Dem turnout 827,000 in ’08)

From Zeke Miller at Buzzfeed:

Romney’s lackluster performance once again proves he has trouble with the base — and Santorum’s candidacy is just the manifestation of that trouble.

The people who turn out for these low-profile, non-binding affairs are the same activists who knock on doors and drive Republicans to the polls in November. And while Santorum isn’t going to be the Republican nominee, he can go a long way toward souring that Republican base toward its likely nominee.

The question being asked tonight by Romney supporters and GOP officials is why can’t Romney seal the deal. His campaign will have a long February if they can’t come up to an answer to that question — and fast.

AP reports that, in an effort to win over the religious right, Romney switched in recent days to talk about social issues.  Didn’t work.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney shifted his focus from the economy to abortion, religious freedom and gay marriage in recent days, part of an intensified effort to win over social conservatives in states voting Tuesday.

It didn’t work.

Republican Rick Santorum, a fierce and vocal opponent of abortion and gay rights, trounced the GOP front-runner in Minnesota’s caucuses on Tuesday and won bragging rights for placing first in Missouri’s non-binding primary. The victories exposed Romney’s longtime struggles to convince cultural conservatives that he’s now in line with their beliefs despite his previous support of abortion rights.

Yeah, imagine that. People who don’t even think Catholics are Christians actually have a problem with a liberal Mormon who once claimed to be better on gay rights than Ted Kennedy.  And this is surprising because?  If Romney could flip to suddenly being a conservative, he could flip back to being the Mormon Kennedy if he’s sworn in in 11 months.  Kind of like a guy who cheats on his wife and marries his mistress and then cheats on her and marries the next mistress.  At some point, if you still believe the guy can be trusted, then you deserve what you get.

More from Roger Simon at Politico:

@politicoroger: I realize it’s a tough night for him, but Romney seemed WAY down in his speech. Never let them see how much it hurts, Mitt.

And the most unfortunate line of the evening goes to David Gergen:

@GregMitch: Best line of night remains Gergen: “Santorum is ripening.”

He’s referrring of course to this Santorum.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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