By Carole on Feb 15, 2012
The latest polls show former Senator Rick Santorum up by 9 points in Michigan, a state whose February 28 primary may provide much more than the 30 delegates riding on the contest. Mathematically it's not a 'must win' for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, but losing there (or even not winning by a large margin) may do irreparable damage to what was once considered his inevitable nomination.
Unlike former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich who expected his South Carolina victory to scare off his opponents and propel him to success in Florida (it didn't), Mr. Santorum is not relying on his recent wins in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri to win over Michigan voters. In addition to intense retail campaigning, he is fighting back against the kind of attacks from the Romney camp that helped Mr. Gingrich lose his brief frontrunner status. A just released Santorum ad depicts a Romney look-a-like shooting mud at a Santorum cut out and missing his target.
While Governor Romney's attacks against Senator Santorum's love of earmarks and votes to raise the debt ceiling may be valid, the irony of their coming from the man who brought us Romneycare and previously supported Obamacare shouldn't be lost on voters who favor smaller and more fiscally responsible government.
As the narrator in the new Santorum ad says, "In the end Mitt Romney's ugly attacks are going to backfire." And that could very well happen in Michigan.
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