Is Rick Santorum cheating in Michigan? Or is Mitt Romney just whining? (+video)
Robocalls to Democrats in Michigan on behalf of Rick Santorum are 'deceptive,' says Mitt Romney. The calls emphasize that Romney opposed the auto bailout. But then, so did Santorum.
Is Rick Santorum cheating in the Michigan primary? Mitt Romney is implying that’s the case. Mr. Romney is complaining that the Santorum campaign is trying to recruit Democrats in the Wolverine State to vote for the former Pennsylvania senator.Skip to next paragraph
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What’s his evidence? Well, it’s true that Mr. Santorum and his associated super PAC appear to be paying for robocalls to Democratic voters. These calls urge recipients to cross the proverbial aisle and vote for Santorum in order to defeat Romney, who opposed the auto bailout.
“It’s a new low in this campaign,” said Romney.
Is it? Well, Michigan’s primary is open, meaning it’s perfectly legal for Democrats to vote on the GOP ballot. Plus, the statewide race is so close that Democratic votes could make a difference.
According to a new survey from Public Policy Polling, Santorum leads among Democrats who plan to vote in the GOP race by 47 to 10 percent. Such voters also make up a substantial eight percent slice of the likely GOP primary electorate, according to PPP.
“The big question now is whether those folks will actually bother to show up and vote,” concludes PPP.
So in that sense, Romney might just be whining. Politics ain’t beanbag, as pundits love to say, even though they have no idea what “beanbag” is. Hard-nosed tactics can be necessary to win.
That said there are some aspects of the calls which, while not illegal, do seem to be deceptive. For one, they kind of glide past the issue of who’s paying for them. At the end of the call paid for by Santorum’s campaign, the man reading says, in the required disclosure line, “This call is supported by hard-working Democratic men and women and paid for by Rick Santorum for president.”