Santorum's Unscripted Style Starting to Bite Him

Wednesday, 21 Mar 2012 02:02 PM

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GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum revels in being an unscripted candidate. His authenticity helped in the early contests when he was trying to break out of the pack but they are hurting him now, The Washington Post reported.

In recent days the former Pennsylvania senator has had to spend time backtracking when he should have been challenging Mitt Romney, who scored an easy win over Santorum in Illinois.

“What he says is undistilled Rick Santorum, and sometimes he says things inartfully,” Richard Land, the political leader of the Southern Baptist Convention, told the Post. “I hope that in the near future Rick will get some really good wordsmiths and give some better speeches.”

Santorum’s off-the-cuff style has harmed his efforts to expand beyond his base of social conservatives. He recently criticized President Barack Obama for allowing his 13-year-old daughter to take a spring break trip to Mexico.

“If the administration is saying that it’s not safe to have people down there, then just because you can send 25 Secret Service agents doesn’t mean you should do it,” Santorum said, according to the Post. “And when the government is saying this is not safe, then you don’t set the example by sending your kids down there.”

However, the State Department warning is only for parts of Mexico and does not include the area where the president’s daughter is staying. Santorum also went off message to attack the administration on pornography and had to backtrack after Romney jumped on his comment on unemployment after he said, “I don’t care what the unemployment rate is going to be. It doesn’t matter to me.”

His comments about his personal opposition to birth control also caused a stir.

“About a month ago, the off-message, visceral, provocative Santorum emerged, and I was frankly stunned that it took so long for that to happen. It’s just who he is,” G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., told the Post.

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