Slouching Toward A Spin Consensus: Santorum Lost

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 22 2012 11:14 PM

Slouching Toward A Spin Consensus: Santorum Lost

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Take spin rooms for what they are: Mostly nonsense. But pay attention to the theatrics. When Rick Perry "oops"ed his way out of contention in Michigan, he made a surprise visit to the spin room to explain himself. ("I screwed up," he explained.) After tonight's debate, Rick Santorum hot-footed it to meet reporters, slogging slowly through the mob as he went over to a previously scheduled interview. Oftentimes, Santorum will response to an annoying question by muttering and shaking his head. This time, when asked why Ron Paul seemed to be on Mitt Romney's side, Santorum snarked: "You have to ask Congressman Paul and Governor Romney what they have going on together."

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

There was immediate agreement: Santorum was protesting too much. But he was right! After the debate ended, the Paul campaign shot out a donor letter attacking one candidate. "So can Ron Paul count on you to make a generous contribution to help get the truth about Rick Santorum out to the voters and to make sure we have the resources to run a full-scale GOTV program on Super Tuesday?" asked John Tate, Paul's campaign manager?

Advertisement

The Paul-Romney non-alignment pact continued. The Gingrich campaign, emboldened, was talking about the long war. Did it matter that Texas's primary was delayed? No, the campaign would end there anyway. Did it matter how Michigan ended up? Only insofar as whether it would prove, sooner than expected, that Romney had no path to the nomination.

"It's not about states," said R.C. Hammond, Gingrich's spokeman. "It's about delegates."

Rep. Trent Franks, Gingrich's highest-profile Arizona endorser, was a little more realistic. "Newt has a Southern strategy, and time will tell if it's effective."

No such pessimism from the Romney campaign.

"We're going to win Michigan," said Romney adviser Stuart Stevens.

"He's going to win Arizona," said Romney endorser Rep. Jeff Flake.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.