Santorum ‘not complaining,’ he gripes
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.