San­to­rum ‘not com­plain­ing,’ he gripes

The Washington Times Daily - - Politics - BY PHILIP EL­LIOTT

GREEN BAY, WIS. | Rick San­to­rum com­plains that GOP pres­i­den­tial ri­val Mitt Rom­ney and his al­lies are out­spend­ing him. He laments that he doesn’t have as beefy an or­ga­ni­za­tion as Mr. Rom­ney. He in­sists Mr. Rom­ney is try­ing to change the rules of the cam­paign in the mid­dle of it, and is run­ning un­fair ads.

It ap­par­ently isn’t easy be­ing Mr. San­to­rum — and he’s telling ev­ery­one who’ll lis­ten.

“I’m not com­plain­ing. I’m not go­ing to be whin­ing about this,” Mr. San­to­rum in­sists.

Yet lately, as the party’s nom­i­na­tion slips fur­ther out of his reach, Mr. San­to­rum has seemed to do just that. He has pep­pered his re­marks with what he con­sid­ers to be the in­jus­tices and in­con­ve­niences of be­ing the un­likely chal­lenger in the Re­pub­li­can pres­i­den­tial fight.

It may be part ploy. The public tends to love an un­der­dog, and Mr. San­to­rum of­ten plays to that no­tion.

It also may be a side ef­fect of fa­tigue and frus­tra­tion as the GOP race heads to­ward its fourth month and Mr. San­to­rum re­fuses to drop out de­spite badly trail­ing Mr. Rom­ney in the hunt for del­e­gates to the party’s nom­i­nat­ing con­ven­tion in Au­gust.

Or, as the case has been for nearly ev­ery pres­i­den­tial can­di­date at one point or an­other, it may just be Mr. San­to­rum long­ing for a sim­pler time when he wasn’t al­ways in the me­dia spot­light.

In re­cent days, the for­mer Penn­syl­va­nia se­na­tor has al­most seemed to bow to the re­al­ity of the in­creas­ingly uphill fight fac­ing him. He has floated the no­tion that he’d ac­cept a vice pres­i­den­tial slot from Mr. Rom­ney although he’s said Mr. Rom­ney is the worst Re­pub­li­can to run against Pres­i­dent Obama.

What­ever is fu­el­ing Mr. San­to­rum’s gripes, his will­ing­ness to pub­licly share what he sees as the hard­ships of run­ning for pres­i­dent as a long-shot can­di­date on a shoe­string bud­get sheds light on his per­son­al­ity and, per­haps, how he’d be­have dur­ing dark days in the Oval Of­fice.

Even in vic­tory, he has com­plained.

“If I’m the win­ner by that big of a mar­gin, why am I not on TV?” Mr. San­to­rum asked of no one in par­tic­u­lar last Satur­day af­ter Louisiana’s pri­mary as he stood near a shuf­fle­board ta­ble and watched Mr. Rom­ney’s wife, Ann, be­ing in­ter­viewed on CNN.

Pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns are tough even for can­di­dates with the in­fra­struc­ture to sup­port their travel, co­or­di­nate their sched­ules and pay for TV ads.

Mr. San­to­rum doesn’t have that. Some­times he’s pride­ful of it, but ap­pears frus­trated at other times.

“No teleprompters. No poll­sters, right? No poll­sters. No speech­writ­ers,” he griped in She­boy­gan.

He can’t keep pace with Mr. Rom­ney’s tele­vi­sion ad­ver­tis­ing and that fi­nan­cial dis­ad­van­tage some­times be­comes the stuff of self-pity.

“Twenty-one-to-1. That’s what we were out­spent,” Mr. San­to­rum lamented af­ter this month’s Illi­nois pri­mary, even though the ra­tio was more like 7-1.


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