Blakeman: Santorum's 'Robocalls' Were 'Big Mistake'

Wednesday, 29 Feb 2012 03:54 AM

By Paul Scicchitano

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GOP strategist and Fox News contributor Bradley A. Blakeman tells Newsmax that Rick Santorum’s last-minute strategy of using “robocalls” to urge Democrats and independents to vote for him in the Michigan Republican primary may have backfired.
 
“I think that Santorum’s robocalls were a big mistake and desperate people do desperate things,” said Blakeman in an exclusive interview on Tuesday. “This was not the proper way to end a campaign in Michigan.”

Tuesday's closely fought contest in Mitt Romney’s home state was open to voters of both parties. But by targeting Democratic and independent voters,
Santorum sent the wrong message to the Republican base, Blakeman said.

“I don’t know whether I could say it tipped it, but it certainly didn’t help,” he said. “I just think it was strategically the wrong thing to do.”

Blakeman, who served as a senior member former President George W. Bush’s administration, said the tactic was simply not befitting a presidential candidate.

“It’s something that you would expect from a Super PAC,” he said. “If anything, he doubled down on it and said it was a great thing to do.”

A professor of public policy, politics and international affairs at Georgetown University, Blakeman said Santorum attracted unwelcome publicity at a critical juncture of the contest.
 
“I think that he certainly didn’t need this kind of publicity the last day and a half going into a close election,” he said.

Even so, Romney’s single-digit margin of victory in Michigan was less than impressive heading into the all-important Super Tuesday contests in which some 600 delegates are up for grabs.

Blakeman noted the former Massachusetts governor should focus his attention on the key battleground state of Ohio, which is one of the most important Super Tuesday contests.

“Ohio is so important not only in the selection process but the election process,” Blakeman said, adding Super Tuesday represents an important test of electability.

“It’s almost like a mini national election because it’s every part of the country,” he said. “It’s also a test of organization and messaging and that is a real test of whether you have the chops to run a national campaign against an incumbent president.”

Blakeman said Santorum will have a difficult time regaining his momentum before Super Tuesday.

“I’m not so sure that losing in the battleground state of Arizona handily and losing in Michigan — even though it’s proportional — will give him the kind of jump without a debate . . . to take on 10 states at once,” he said.
 
 

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