The buzz in presidential politics is all about Rick Santorum and his expected strong showing in the three states voting in the Republican primary today, which could at the least give Santorum reason to keep holding on to his White House dreams.
Here's what political reporters are saying about today's contests:
Los Angeles Times' Paul West writes:
Rick Santorum appears to be the main threat to Romney there, if efforts by the Romney campaign to assail him on Monday were any indication. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty" href="http://www.latimes.com/topic/politics/government/tim-pawlenty-PEPLT005104.topic">Tim Pawlenty hopped on a conference call with reporters to attack Santorum's aggressive support for earmarked spending when he was in Congress.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Jim O'Toole says:
The results of caucuses in Minnesota and Colorado and a non-binding primary in Missouri could allow Mr. Santorum to make his case to be the standard-bearer of the anybody-but-Mitt crowd. Mr. Santorum is certain to get more votes than Mr. Gingrich in Missouri, a state where his conservative rival is not even on the ballot. He is running ahead of the Georgian in Colorado and actually led the entire field in a recent poll of likely caucus voters in Minnesota.
A victory on Tuesday would revive Santorum's hopes and enable him to make the case to fundraisers that his campaign remains viable, and allow him to compete with former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich as the main Romney alternative.
The AP's Philip Elliot and Kasie Hunt write:
The outcome of Colorado and Minnesota isn't likely to dramatically change the dynamics of the GOP presidential race. But a Santorum victory in either of them could give him a boost -- for a day at least -- while shining a light on Romney's troubles with conservative voters who long have been skeptical of his candidacy.
GOP consultant Dan Hazelwood said Santorum is grasping at straws.
“Santorum is the last viable challenger and is looking for every angle to breath life into his campaign,” Hazelwood said. “You admire the effort, but the outcome is now written: Romney.”
That said, Romney’s inevitability is so ingrained right now that doing anything to call it into question could be helpful to Santorum. And the more success Santorum can have in today’s contests, the more doubt there will be about Romney’s impending nomination.
This is why we saw such pushback from the Romney team on Monday. The Romney folks aren’t worried about Santorum turning the race on its head — the stakes aren’t that high — but the fact that he could do anything to again call into question Romney’s impending victory is reason to tread cautiously.