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Examining Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum now ties or leads Mitt Romney in national polls. Is he the anti-Romney, the anti-Obama? We’ll look at “Mr. Faith and Family.”

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, speaks at an evening outdoor rally at the Washington State History Museum, Monday, Feb. 13, 2012, in Tacoma, Wash. (AP)

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, speaks at an evening outdoor rally at the Washington State History Museum, Monday, Feb. 13, 2012, in Tacoma, Wash. (AP)

Back in the day on Capitol Hill, Senator Rick Santorum built a reputation as a testy, self-righteous culture warrior of the first order.  Ardent in his religiosity and cultural conservatism.  His loss of that Senate seat in ’06 was by the biggest margin of any sitting Republican senator in Pennsylvania history.

Today, with a sweater-vest and smile, Rick Santorum is neck-and-neck with Mitt Romney in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.  Maybe just the conservative a lot of Republicans have been looking for.

This hour, On Point: we’re taking the measure of Rick Santorum now.

-Tom Ashbrook

 

Guests

Foster Friess, Businessman and conservative activist. He is a major financial donor of the “Red White and Blue Fund” Super PAC which has been supporting Rick Santorum.

Tom McGrath, editor-in-chief of Philadelphia magazine. In 2010, he wrote a big profile Rick Santorum Wants to Save Us From Barack Obama: Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail.

Reihan Salam, columnist for “The Daily” and policy advisor for “Economics 21.”  His blog, for the National Review Online, is “The Agenda.”

Nia-Malika Henderson, national political reporter for The Washington Post, where she covers the White House and the 2012 campaign.

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post “Santorum is focused on making major pushes in the Feb. 28 Michigan primary and in Ohio on March 6, where his campaign believes his blue-collar roots will match up well against front-runner Mitt Romney.”

L.A. Times “Another round of polling suggests that Rick Santorum may be on his way to consolidating conservative support nationally in the fight for the Republican presidential nomination. That’s bad news for Newt Gingrich, and potentially even worse news for Mitt Romney, who has benefited from a secondary fight among his GOP rivals to be his main alternative.”

Foreign Policy “So, just what were those ideas, and how do they compare to Santorum’s rhetoric on the campaign trail today? Under the disquieting rubric “The Gathering Storm,” Santorum penned roughly 40 articles on Iran during his EPPC stint, scrupulously aggregating news and commentary to paint a picture of the multidimensional Iranian threat facing the United States.”

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Dick West (Dr. Walter Richard West, Wah-pah-nah-yah or Wapah Nahya, Light Foot Runner), 1912−1996, Southern Cheyenne, Oklahoma. Cheyenne Sun Dance—The Third Day, 1949. Paper, casein, 24 5/8 x 35 1/8 inches. © 2013 Philbrook Museum of Art, Inc., Museum purchase, 1949.20, Photo: John Lamberton.

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