It's On: Ron Paul Versus Rick Santorum

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 6 2012 3:48 PM

It's On: Ron Paul Versus Rick Santorum

NASHUA, N.H. -- In the olden days, Ron Paul supporters would flood his events and then sputter about the lack of any media attention. Not so much anymore. Paul's first New Hampshire rally since the Iowa caucuses packed at least 600 people into an airport hanger, and drew dozens of reporters. At a short press availability, pictured below, two questions came at Paul from British reporters, obviously pretty interested in covering a phenomenon.

photo (42)

One question, new since Iowa: Is Rick Santorum Paul's biggest competitor?

"Hardly!" scoffed Paul. "I think he's a competitor, but I don't think he's the biggest one. He's one individual, when conservatives find out how big government he is -- he talks big about the Balanced Budget Amendment, never did anything about it. Four or five times, he voted to raise the national debt, so that tells you how conservative he is. He doubled, more than doubled the size of the Department of Education. At the same time, he voted for that program to increase massively the prescription drug program, which is a medical program that is not paying its way, and is another reason the entitlement system is under such attack."

One of those answers wherein the first clause is negated by the rest. Clearly, Paul wants to take Santorum's knees out from under him. Emily Schultheis has the new ad Paul's starting to run in South Carolina.

The "Santorum is actually a big government conservative" attack didn't do much for Perry, but the fumbling governor now has some company in the meme.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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