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Santorum: What have Paul and Romney got going together?

 

The UK Daily Mail brings us news from the spin room after the GOP presidential debate in Arizona on Wednesday night, in which Mitt Romney and Ron Paul spent a lot of time hammering Rick Santorum:

After tonight’s debate, in which Ron Paul and Mitt Romney repeatedly attacked Rick Santorum over his 16-year record in Congress, the former US Senator for Pennsylvania hinted that something nefarious was going on.

“You have to ask Congressman Paul and Governor Romney what they’ve got going together,” Santorum told reporters in the spin room in Mesa, Arizona. “Their commercials look a lot alike and so do their attacks.”

Santorum’s top strategist John Brabender went even further, charging that the two men had “joined forces” and were coordinating attacks against his man

“Clearly there’s a tag team strategy between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. For all I know, Mitt Romney might be considering Ron Paul as his running mate. Clearly there is now an alliance between those two and you saw that certainly in the debate.”

A Romney-Paul ticket seems a bit unlikely, although it becomes more plausible if you substitute a different Paul.  There has been speculation that Ron Paul’s son, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, might be on the vice presidential short list.   Rand Paul recently said “it would be an honor to be considered.”  Rand would presumably be able to bring a good deal of Ron’s support to the Romney ticket, and the 49-year-old Senator might be more content with spending four or eight years on the vice-presidential launch pad than his 76-year-old father.

Santorum strategist Brabender went on to accuse Paul and Romney of co-ordinating their attack ads against Santorum: “Ron Paul for all practical purposes has pulled out of Michigan. Correct? Where’s he running negative ads against Rick Santorum? Michigan.”

The Romney campaign ridiculed Santorum for “whiney silliness,” while going out of its way to be very respectful of the “iconoclastic” Ron Paul:

“If ever there was an iconoclast who got up there and said what he believed, it’s Ron Paul,” said Stuart Stevens, Romney’s chief strategist.

“The President of the United States’s political action committee is now running ads that are just like Rick Santorum’s. Is Rick Santorum coordinating with the President of the United States? I don’t think so.

“So I think that’s a sort of whiney silliness. It would not even be a question if he [Santorum] felt that he’d answered these questions better.

“To say, ‘People are ganging up on me’ in a debate where there’s only four people in the debate and they’re raising questions kind of speaks for itself.”

I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the possibility of “ganging up” occurring in a group of only four people.  Isn’t that pretty much what happened to the Beatles?

At any rate, it is notable how Paul appeared to have no interest in going after Romney with anything like the vigor and specificity he displayed against Santorum.  There could be other ways for Romney to win cooperation from Paul beyond offering him the vice-presidency in exchange for the head of Rick Santorum.  There doesn’t have to be any “nefarious” collusion at all.  As a matter of political tactics, Paul – who has openly stated that he doesn’t expect to actually win the nomination – has good reason to go after the current Alpha Not-Romney. 

Also, Paul is in Congress, and a good deal of his critique is focused against Congress, where Santorum also served.  Romney has not exercised power on the federal level, so whatever the problems with his gubernatorial record, it’s not really part of Paul’s Constitutional arguments. 

Whether it was planned or not, Paul and Romney certainly did tag-team Santorum on Wednesday night, providing quite a spectacle for the cheerful Newt Gingrich to enjoy.

 

Written By

John Hayward began his blogging career as a guest writer at Hot Air under the pen name "Doctor Zero," producing a collection of essays entitled Doctor Zero: Year One. He is a great admirer of free-market thinkers such as Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell. He writes both political and cultural commentary, including book and movie reviews. An avid fan of horror and fantasy fiction, he has produced an e-book collection of short horror stories entitled Persistent Dread. John is a former staff writer for Human Events. He is a regular guest on the Rusty Humphries radio show, and has appeared on numerous other local and national radio programs, including G. Gordon Liddy, BattleLine, and Dennis Miller.

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