Rick Santorum’s campaign was undermined by a wave of bad press, while Mitt Romney’s coverage improved over time,” says a new analysis of 483 evening news broadcasts covering the Republican primaries by the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University. It found that almost two-thirds of the stories about Mr. Santorum were positive in January, but that number sank to 32 percent positive by Super Tuesday on March 6. Mr. Romney’s more timely trajectory followed the opposite pattern, and to his benefit.
Shrill coverage continued right through Mr. Santorum’s decision to drop out of the race on Tuesday, prompting analysts to predict Mr. Romney would abandon his newfound conservative stance and return to a more pliable moderate version, even as rival Newt Gingrich scrambled for leftover attention and support. Meanwhile, some observers are simply grateful to Mr. Santorum for going the distance and energizing values voters.
“His success in state after state shocked the political pundits and beat the expectations. His message of smaller government and a strong national defense resonated with the heart of the Republican Party,” says Gary Bauer, chairman of the Campaign for Working Families.
“Rick Santorum proved that, while some politicians talk about family values, he lives them,” says Richard Viguerie, chairman of ConservativeHQ.com. “The first great challenge facing Republicans is whether or not Mitt Romney can heal the wounds created by his negative campaigning.”
“With great vision and passion, Rick Santorum reached the hearts of pro-life voters and allowed them to show the strength of their voting bloc,” says Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List. “The political muscle of the pro-life movement will be critical to defeating President Obama.”
THE SUNSHINE STATE
“This portion of Florida is known as the Treasure Coast for a reason.”
From a White House pool report filed by Real Clear Politics correspondent Alexis Simendinger, on President Obama’s decision to conduct four Florida fundraisers in 14 hours in Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Hollywood and Golden Beach.
Maybe it’s a smorgasbord. President Obama was in full sales mode during his Florida excursion, pitching the “Buffett Rule” that proposes that the nation’s billionaires shell out 30 percent of their income in taxes. There has been a mixed reception from billionaires themselves; free market, flat-tax fan Charles Koch, for example, dismisses the idea. But there are at least a dozen of the uber-rich who would comply, says Forbes Magazine.
Who’s willing? Well, Warren Buffett, of course. He came up with the whole idea. Also on the roster: software magnate Bill Gates, progressive philanthropist George Soros, Democratic philanthropist Eli Broad, asset manager Tom Steyer, Carlyle Group founder David Rubenstein, hair products kingpin John Paul de Joria, New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Dallas Maverick owner Mark Cuban, and hedge fund mavens James Simons and John Arnold.
Sen Marco Rubio calls President Obama’s visit to the Sunshine State a “missed opportunity,” dismissing the “Buffett Rule” as a flawed policy and “little more than an election-year political stunt to raise taxes on investors who help create jobs.”
The Florida Republican adds: “This has nothing to do with putting millions of unemployed Americans back to work and everything to do with the president keeping his job. It has nothing to do with sound economic policy and everything to do with class-warfare politics.”
ONE FOR ED