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. gt

    gee rick must keeps his own score...santrorum is right about jobs.... but thats it....america is hurting....

    February 27, 2012 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  2. Michigander

    I'd rather eat my shoe than vote for this clown, Mittens, or the Newt.

    February 27, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  3. Blossom89

    I hope he's right. It would be the best thing that could happen for Obama's campaign.

    February 27, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  4. Ole

    I am not sure which of the two leading repubs is the dumber of the two. They confirm everything I have ever thought about lawyers, most of them get into law school and forget any common sense they ever had. These guys are really scary.

    February 27, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  5. Martin

    You can tell by Rick's own face that he'd sooner throw one of his children in harm's way if this action would save him from danger.

    Anyone who takes a dead baby home to prove a point to children should not be allowed around children.

    February 27, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  6. Charlie from the North

    "Mission Accomplished" This clown is starting to sound a little familiar. The punch line is that he is no more or less a bad choice than any in the GOP. GOP- building a tunnel to the 15th century.

    February 27, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  7. Paul Ernest Show

    Santorum has become his own worst enemy. Emboldened by a few insignificant victories, he has jump to the most extremist, tactless end of the political debate. Seems he lacks a few wise men or women,in his campaign, to pull him back to the middle where most Americans, in-spite of their individual or religious views, remain. It is from there, from the edge of the discourse, that Santorum will eventually loose his balance and disappear down the cliff. Romney's rising or recovery is due in part to Santorum's ill-calculated views and statements.

    February 27, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  8. Pat

    "team?" the people who support him are not a "team." They are a group of rabid, loser, ignorant, bigoted, racists. They believe that stupidity is the way to success. What has AMERICA become???

    February 27, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  9. AK_steve

    Cool. You won. Now go home!

    February 27, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  10. nothing new here

    Granted, Romney has ticked off a lot of Michigan voters by verbally assailing the auto industry bailout.
    But this goes to show everyone that Mitt and Santorum will say anything to try to "out conservative" each other. Even to the point of damaging their own reputations, these guys are so desperate, and phony, that it is painful to watch.

    February 27, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  11. michigander

    Santorum: principaled, consistant, conservative, constipated

    February 27, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  12. Bill

    In spite of all the things that have gone against Romney in MI it is looking like he will win both MI and AZ. If he does he will have 3-4 times as many delegates as Santorum. And Santorum's team thinks they can spin that as a "win" and running strong? Wow.

    February 27, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  13. jsomm

    I would be very afraid of a man (Santorum) who said that Obama should be feared and booted from office because...(drum roll please) he wants kids to go to college. Sounds like learning is considered to be a dangerous thing. Or is post secondary to be encouraged only if it is evangelical? Romney can't be trusted because he speaks French?
    What would Eisenhower say about this?How embarrassing....

    February 27, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  14. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    I would NEVER support Santorum because I am working my butt off so my kids CAN go to college and not wind up being a myopic idiot like he is. And since Rush is backing him that just as they like to say DOUBLE DOWNS my lack of support for him.

    Rick Santorum/Allen West 2012 perfect losing combination

    February 27, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  15. A not-so-stupid former republican

    Since Sanitarium has already won, why have the election? Isn't it fun watching the space cadets?

    February 27, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  16. OrangeW3dge

    "GOP governors find common ground with President" – –
    Because, as they said, Barack Obama is more Conservative than any of the Republican candidates running for election.

    February 27, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  17. palinized

    ameican taliban pure and simple. sets womens rights back a few centuries and peddles his fake cathlicism on his sleeve.

    February 27, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  18. Dan, TX

    Santorum would have won if he'd simply talked economics and didn't tell people that college was only for snobs. Santorum you had more college work than 99% of people – who are you to inspire people to embrace ignorance in order to cling to religion.

    February 27, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  19. Anybody

    Santorum did not need Romney to hurt him; he hurt himself. From his stupid comments to his robo calls that are just dirty politics.
    Santorum will be yesterdays news in a few weeks.

    February 27, 2012 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
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