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Inside the Beltway

- The Washington Times - Monday, February 6, 2012

PALPABLE DECENCY

Is another surprise surge for Rick Santorum percolating at the polls? Voters like him personally, and they admire his tenacity and decorum on the campaign trail. "Again, why not Santorum?" That is the question from National Review contributor Quin Hillyer as the Republican presidential hopefuls doggedly face down a trio of states voting Tuesday.

"Santorum's palpable decency and sincerity can offer a similar reassurance against President Obama. Someone as volatile as Newt Gingrich cannot. Santorum's track record also indicates that he wears well over time," Mr. Hillyer observes. "He doesn't offer flash and sizzle, but in a long campaign, such as in the media-intensive slog that is a general-election presidential race, his personal and political virtues have time to become more apparent."

Though his funding has been modest, "Santorum knows how to live off the land and still find ways to win. In the fall campaign, though, money will be no problem for him. The stakes are so high that no Republican-leaning donor will stay on the sidelines. If Santorum can compete as well as he has without a big war chest, imagine what he can do with serious financial resources behind him," Mr. Hillyer says.

He adds that Mr. Santorum enjoys the endorsement of, among others, Sharron Angle, Tom Tancredo, Michelle Malkin, David Limbaugh, Richard Viguerie, Gary Bauer, James Dobson, Colin Hanna, Phyllis Schlafly and Pat Boone.

DELEGATING THE DELEGATES

Of 143 delegates who emerged in the last five Republican state primaries, 73 support Mitt Romney, 30 are "unbound," 29 have gone with Newt Gingrich, eight with Rep. Ron Paul and three with Rick Santorum. Ever vigilant, the Republican National Committee reminds GOPers that "no delegates will be awarded" Tuesday during the Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri primaries; those events are considered either nonbinding or not recognized in the selection process.

Well, OK.

The 36 delegates in Colorado will be chosen at district and state conventions by April 14. Ditto the 40 delegates in Minnesota, to be decided by May 5, and 52 delegates from the Show-Me State, where things will be finalized by June 2.

MISSING REAGAN

What would have been Ronald Reagan's 101st birthday came and went Monday with multiple heartfelt observances around the nation. Indeed, strong feelings about the 40th president remain. It is no mere nostalgia.

"I can't help but miss the President more than ever. His vision for America contrasts so sharply with the big-government waste and cronyism that will be the legacy of the Obama administration," says Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips. "It's important to remind ourselves what a terrific difference a great leader can make in this country."

The grass-roots organization marks the contrasts of the two presidencies with a brief video that is a terse reminder of American thinking before political correctness, relentless liberalism and a smug, critical press came along to squeeze simple but genuine love of country from the public discourse. See the 60-second spot here: www.americansforprosperity.org

POLICING PLANNED PARENTHOOD

On the radar: The Alliance Defense Fund and the Susan B. Anthony List are sharing their research about Planned Parenthood with Congress. The findings, the groups contend, detail millions of dollars of "systemic waste, abuse, and potential fraud" by the organization, as revealed in state and federal audits.

This includes fraudulent billing and reimbursement by Title XIX agencies for medications and/or services provided in connection with an abortion, illegal under federal law.

Steven H. Aden, senior counsel of the fund, and Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the list, go public with it all on Tuesday morning.

ROMANCE CORNER

Yes, yes, Valentine's Day is just days away. But hopeful romantics may want to reconsider a dalliance with the billion-dollar online dating industry, say a group of social psychologists. Industry claims of matching partners through algorithms or other scientific sounding fare "are unsubstantiated and likely false," the researchers say, insisting that the strongest predictors of relationship "well-being" cannot be assessed with such data.

"Online profiles are a feeble substitute for face-to-face contact when it comes to the crucial task of assessing romantic chemistry. Furthermore, browsing through all those online profiles may overwhelm people or encourage them to treat their search more like shopping than mate-finding, which can lead singles to pass over potential partners who are actually well-suited to them," says lead researcher Eli Finkel, a psychologist with Northwestern University.

The researchers will publish their findings in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science in the Public Interest, an academic journal.

POLL DU JOUR

• 76 percent of Americans are closely following the 2012 presidential race.

• 54 percent disapprove of what the Republican candidates have said during the campaign; 36 percent approve.

• 50 percent say President Obama deserves to be re-elected, 48 percent says he does not.

• 39 percent of likely Republican voters would vote for Mitt Romney if the primary was held today.

• 24 percent would support Newt Gingrich, 18 percent Rick Santorum and 14 percent Rep. Ron Paul.

• 37 percent most trust Mr. Romney to handle the economy, 23 percent trust Mr. Gingrich, 17 percent Mr. Paul, 11 percent Mr. Santorum.

• 28 percent say Mr. Romney is the most honest and trustworthy, 24 percent cite Mr. Santorum, 21 percent Mr. Paul, 7 percent Mr. Gingrich.

• 25 percent trust Mr. Romney most to handle social issues, 22 percent trust Mr. Gingrich, 19 percent Mr. Santorum, 13 percent Mr. Paul.

Source: An ABC News/Washington Post poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 1-4.

Helpful hints, righteous indignation, churlish remarks to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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