"Vet" Your Bottom Dollar: Rick Santorum Raises More Money and More Eyebrows with His Conservative Views

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"Vet" Your Bottom Dollar: Rick Santorum Raises More Money and More Eyebrows with His Conservative Views

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While Rick Santorum's presidential campaign is counting some crisp, new dollars-one million plus according to the campaign-some media outlets are counting ways to replay some of Santorum's more wildly to-the-right sound bites and other controversial fare, including Santorum's "non-denial" denial that he tipped off a former senator that an illicit affair with a staffer was about to be exposed.

This is what vetting is all about, folks. Once a candidate becomes a serious contender-even if we're talking about Iowa having barely shred the pieces of paper it used to vote Santorum into a virtual tie with Mitt Romney-vetting Santorum was predictably an immediate reaction to his rise in the GOP race to the presidency. It's not like Santorum hasn't given media plenty to rifle through when it comes to pinning him down with less than stellar responses in front of a microphone and a crowd. When it comes to vetting, the worst stories-and a candidate's worst responses-have no expiration date.

Immigration. Welfare. Gay marriage. Take your pick. The former Senator from Pennsylvania has been, let's say, blunt about his positions on these and more. Will the blunt approach help or hurt him? It didn't seem to in Iowa. However, how will Santorum play in New Hampshire and beyond? Will GOP voters believe that Santorum did not give his friend, ex-Senator John Ensign, advance word that his (Ensign's) illicit affair with a staffer was about to make news? It should be noted that Santorum, who was a Fox News contributor at the time of the Ensign story, was never accused of any wrongdoing by The Senate Ethics Committee.

Will the GOP faithful excuse Santorum's awkward response to a question recently posed to him in Iowa about welfare, wherein he was quoted as saying, "I don't want to make black people's lives better by giving them someone's money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money." Admittedly "tongue-tied," perhaps Santorum didn't realize that the words "welfare" and "black" are not synonymous? Or maybe Santorum forgot that he was in a state where more whites actually receive welfare than blacks?

That gaffe aside, one has to wonder how much Santorum's candidacy can withstand when he begins to put into high gear some of his other positions such as opposition to gay marriage and tougher immigration laws. Hispanic voters in states the GOP covets such as Texas and Florida are not likely to be waving Rick Santorum placards if the candidate is saying the U.S. should impose tougher immigration laws. The same is true for gays and lesbians who are looking for the candidate who will give a voice to what they want--same-sex marriages that are legal in every state. It's safe to say that candidate will not be Rick Santorum.

So what is an ultra-conservative, newly-minted, front-of-the-pack GOP contender to do? Well, Santorum could lob a few hints to the emancipated Michele Bachmann supporters who suddenly have no home. It is entirely plausible that Santorum could attract those voters with his ultra-conservative views. A less likely game plan would be for Santorum to blend in some more centrist positions as the campaign progresses. However, given that Santorum has chided rivals Mitt Romney and even Newt Gingrich for being "soft" on conservatism-it is unlikely that he will risk any momentum by slowing down the Santorum conservative train.

The vetting will continue to be sure. Candidate Santorum would be well-advised to expand his repertoire of answers in order to prepare for what will most certainly become a widening array of microphones and digital tape recorders poised in front of him wherever he goes.

*Published January 11, 2012


Cheryl G

Detroit, Michigan, United States •

Professional Experience. Professional Results. I have more than 30 years of experience as a writer--nearly half of which has been spent in television news both at the local and network level. I have an excellent eye for visual detail and a keen sense of story development. Moreover, I am well-organized, detail-oriented and quite familiar with fast-paced deadlines. I have also enjoyed artistic writing pursuits. My work has been seen both here in the U.S. and abroad via television broadcast and live performance. I currently write for corporate web sites as well as online news and entertainment outlets, including columns on current events and feature stories. I bring highly-valued skills to your project from an industry in which accuracy, creativity and speed are tantamount to success. Any writing assignment that I...

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