Santorum adviser on Michigan: 'We have already won'
February 27th, 2012
10:22 AM ET
3 years ago

Santorum adviser on Michigan: 'We have already won'

Detroit (CNN) - A senior adviser to Rick Santorum is downplaying the latest trend in Michigan polling, which shows Mitt Romney creeping back to a narrow lead ahead of Tuesday's closely watched Republican primary.

"We have already won," Santorum adviser John Brabender told CNN. "No matter what the results are, we've won. This is Romney's home state."

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Though Santorum's lead over Romney slipped after his poorly reviewed debate performance in Arizona last week and a string of conservative remarks on cultural issues that have called into doubt his viability in a general election, Brabender said that the very fact that Romney is scrambling to win his native state is a glaring indicator of Romney's weakness among Republican voters.

"The Romney campaign is spending a fortune they never expected to spend in Michigan, and every dollar they spend in Michigan is a dollar they don't have on Super Tuesday," he said.

The former Pennsylvania senator entered February with the goal of emerging as the singular conservative rival to Romney, a feat he has now accomplished, Brabender argued.

The last month has exposed Romney's deficiencies as a candidate, he claimed, pointing to Romney's capacity to draw attention to his vast personal wealth with unscripted remarks on the campaign trail.

On Friday, for instance, Romney said his wife Ann drives "a couple of Cadillacs."

"You can't write this stuff. He could become a Saturday Night Live character, 'the rich guy running for president,' and they wouldn't even need a script writer. They can use his own words and it comes out funny."

Brabender said that as of Monday, the Santorum campaign collected campaign contributions from 100,000 individual donors in the month of February, most of them in small dollar amounts.

He also said they have proven their viability by weathering attacks from Romney and a pro-Romney super PAC better than any other Republican candidate to date.

"We have survived the Romney attack machine," he said. "Romney and Ron Paul have tried to hurt us jointly, but the polls still show us tight with Romney. We have certainly survived it to a much bigger extent than anybody else has so far."

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul dismissed Brabender's arguments and said the results on Tuesday will speak for themselves.

"You don’t win by losing, and we are working hard to convince the voters of Michigan and Arizona that Mitt Romney is the best person to lead on jobs and the economy," Saul said in an email.

Also see:

Gingrich tells evangelicals: 'We need to stand up for ourselves'

Limbaugh front and center in pro-Santorum mailer

Romney: 'I can't be perfect'

Graham, McCain predict big primary night for Romney


Filed under: 2012 • Michigan • Mitt Romney • Rick Santorum
soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. WhereIsPalin

    Maybe Palin will show up at the convention, grab the nomination and save the GOP. We can only hope.

    February 27, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  2. CoJo

    well we have finally heard it from Santorum's mouth.
    1- he does not believe in separation of state & church. He said this in Michigan. Implies he WILL dictate your religion and your way of life. Obviously this mean he does not believe in the Constitution of the US.
    2- he does not believe people should go to college. Why? because they don't come out as a hard core evangelical like he is. He even would prefer to have every child educated at home like he was. No need for school at all.

    February 27, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  3. Loren, Keene NH

    More important is how is Mitt Romney doing in Massachusetts versus Santorum in PA. I cannot believe that the campaign said something so arrogant. If I lived in Michigan, I would vote Romney just to prove that a campaign doesn't speak until the people do!!!

    Remember Romney is not from Michigan now! He was raised there for a time. The media plays way to much on this point.

    February 27, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  4. Luke Brown

    Who needs voters when you have polls!

    February 27, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  5. nobody important

    Why stop there Brabender? Why don't we just say that Santorum actually won Florida, Nevada, his reelection in 2006, and the presidency. After all, "No matter what the results are, we've won."

    February 27, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. sacreblue2

    "No matter what the results are, we've won."
    L O S E R S P I N

    February 27, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  7. Muldoon in Ohio

    Hey, maybe Santorum has already won the 2012 presidential election...can he call it a victory yet? And I thought Newt was the oracle of SPIN...

    February 27, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. pkbkr

    This guy Saintorum is scary! His weekend statements re: further education (Obama a "snob?") and denigrating President Kennedy's speech re: separation of church and state......can you even imagine what he'd do or say as president???? This clown needs to just go away and pray!!!

    February 27, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  9. CBR

    The continual hype over this primary is completely overdone. If this is done to get the primary in the spotlight, then the hype has worked. If this was supposed to give Mr. Romney lots more attention then maybe it did work. However, this whole process has been overdone. Debate over debate, hype over every primary caucus, and the need to get public support have gone overboard. The drama has been overplayed leaving many bored and unimpressed.

    Examples: Romney's defense of the America automobile industry – cadillacs, thunderbirds, etx. All cars which are not so easily available to the masses. Santorum desire for less division of church and state is unconstitutional.

    February 27, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  10. paul

    Have already received two robo calls asking Democrats to vote for Santorum. "This ad is being paid for by Rick Santorum for president" Interesting. Preacher Rick will try anything.

    February 27, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. Greg T

    Very telling remarks made by Mr. Santorum – in his mind going to college results in “liberal college professors” trying to “indoctrinate” students. Hmmm, and I always thought that college was to prepare you to think critically. Thanks, Rick, for making me see the error in my ways. I'll adopt your narrow minded viewpoint, shut down my independent thinking, and join the ranks of your, well, sheep, and by golly I'll be a winner!

    February 27, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  12. Bemused

    Ah the power of 'believing'. In this case of course, it's the power of delusion. Remember that Iraqi general insisting that the American forces were defeated, while a US helicopter hovered behind him outside the building?

    Santorum is surely a strong believer. Question is only, what's the illusion of the day he's hanging on to?

    February 27, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. KJ

    what a liar he is about Paul and Romney 'jointly' doing anything, and he knows it, he just knows the doubt keeps some conservatives who don't know Paul well from Paul. Look at Santorum's voting record against what he says. The man is a phony.

    February 27, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. Kevin

    I would like to personally thank the republican crowd for buying the shiny box with a pretty bow, without looking inside. I will get richer due to lack of ability to see the big picture. It is wonderful that speculators can buy up the supply after being deregulated. If the Keystone pipeline is approved will drive prices up higher when the resources to process the oil for export is tied up. My oil investments should really pay off. I love the deregulation that allowed the big box companies to move over to China. The record profits will make my investments payoff. One sad note to that is the middleclass that makes up the consumer group is almost gone. Got to love globalization, now I can invest in cheaply made crap that makes money. The dumb up of education is very encouraging. The future class of worker bees holds promise. The no kid left behind and standardized testing was truly inspired. Imagine dumb up education to the slowest one in the classroom. I love trickle down, not having to pay a high rate of taxes on my profits. To think people actually think I am going to invest money to build stuff in the USA, when there is no middleclass to buy it. It is so great to have the right to bet on failures and legally hide money now that Wall Street was deregulated. The profit opportunity is tremendous. I love that the loan companies were leaned on to make variable rate and high-risk loans to hide the recession in Bush presidency. Man, did I rake it in on the large amount of customers and got to make money off the foreclosures. I love the push for small business; man does it save on labor cost. It is fantastic to pay so little to employees now. I send my love to all of the Republicans out there.

    February 27, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  15. Michelle

    Santorum taken out of context once again! NO,...not all kids need to go to college. Not all kids should go to college. Not all kids are equipped to go to college. He's right! There are hundreds of thousands of kids that are skilled and talented in areas that a "college" education will not equip them to do what they were meant to do. There are, however, technical schools that will train them in the industry they want to be in. There are industries here that will still train people to do specific specialty work that needs to be done. We still need mechanics. You don't need a degree in mechanical engineering to become a mechanic. We need welders. You don't need a LIberal Arts degree to become a welder. Show me a plumber with a business degree on his wall. America....you missed the point!

    February 27, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  16. Rosslaw

    Santorum tried to convince voters in Pennsylvannia when he lost his Senate seat by 18 points that he had "really" already won. Didn't work that time either. Maybe he should remind everybody how hard he fought against loaning the auto industry money to come back so that another 1.4 milliion could have been out of work if Santorum had had his way.

    February 27, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  17. MaryAngeline

    Rick has become fodder for Saturday Night Live. Every time he opens his mouth we appears more stupid than the day before, and he alienates more people. Should he by some miracle win the nomination, Obama will have Goldwater-type victory. Go Rick!!!

    February 27, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  18. Mike

    What an idiot. If you have won, then you are sending a message to the voters there is no need to come out and vote for your boy. Good move. How much does he get paid?

    February 27, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. t

    michelle, YOU missed the point.

    February 27, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  20. TPF

    Santrum is a Washington insider and not a very honest one. Take a close look at his record and you will see why he was not re-elected.

    February 27, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. us1776

    GOP = Godsters + One Percenters

    That's their whole base. Religious wingnuts plus the ultra-wealthy.

    The GOP is a dinosaur that needs to go extinct.

    .

    February 27, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. Debby

    Oh brother how arrogant of Santorum and his advisors. Obama is beating him in the general anyway so whats the point . Even if he wins Michigan he isn't going to win it in the general neither is Romney unless the independents rally around Romney. They won't for Santorum.

    February 27, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  23. ozzie

    Now, I feel pity for Ricky. He calls the President a snob. He rejects the President's apology to Afghanistan for the accidental and inadvertant act of disrespect. He endorced the pro-choice Specter over the anti-abortion Toomey. He supported the pre-emptive bombing of Iraq, which the Pope called illegal, immoral, and a defeat for humanity. he opposes the DREAM Act, which has the support of the U.S. Catholic Bishops and the Pentegon. I'm not sure what makes Ricky a good Catholic. I'm not sure why Ricky believes that he can lead in this complex world. Feel pity for him. Soon, he'll goaway for a long while.

    February 27, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  24. Charlie from the North

    Someone could save the whole country a lot of time and anguish by simple showing this clown the Constitution. Once he realizes that he can't live by those rules he would be out of the race just like that. Why do you thin Trump got out? He didn't want to give up his power.

    February 27, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  25. Randy, San Francisco

    What fun...keep the circus going! Santorum, the culture warrior, can't stop himself from saying the most absurd things about religion and women, and Romney is running so hard to the right he can never get back to the middle of the political spectrum.

    February 27, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
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