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The Gazette KCRG
Posted November 16, 2011
What’s Ahead Nov. 16: Santorum looking to move to the middle

Republican Presidential candidates (from left) Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Thaddeus McCotter, Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann at the Iowa Straw Poll on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011, at Hilton Coliseum in Ames. (Liz Martin/SourceMedia Group News)

 

It’s probably a compliment when a presidential hopeful is asked their choice of a running mate, a sign that the candidate is being taken seriously, seen as a contender.

However it was meant, it struck Rick Santorum as, well, premature.

The former Pennsylvania senator was fielding questions in Anamosa Nov. 15 when the running mate question was posed. It’s a topic for his children around the dinner table, the father of seven said, but he wasn’t ready to name names. Instead, he demurred, saying he would pick someone “who would be best able to do what I promised to do.”

“It would be the ultimate in hubris on my part” to be picking a running mate, said Santorum, who is pulling 3 percent in the most recent Bloomberg News poll.

Santorum, who talked about being “pigeonholed” as only a social conservative, suggested he’s looking to move to the middle. The middle of the stage in future debates.

Asked why he’s always on the end, Santorum explained candidate positioning is based on national polls. The center slots are held by the candidates leading or spiking in the polls and the end positions are occupied by the Santorums, Huntsmans and, until recently, Cains.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has been at center stage in all but one debate, according to an analysis by the blog Smart Politics. In that one case, he was in the middle third of a nine-candidate line-up.

In the first six debates since Texas Gov. Rick Perry joined the field, he has been in the middle four times. Cain and Texas Rep. Ron Paul have been in the limelight, too.

Only when former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson been included in the debate field has Santorum moved off the end. However, he hasn’t given up hope.

“If I get to the middle by March or April I’ll be happy,” Santorum said – referring to his stage position, not his politics, of course.

And who knows, Santorum may be due for a surge. He’s watched as first Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, then Perry, Cain and now former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has shot up the charts before fading.

So with less than two months until the precinct caucuses, “maybe my timing is perfect,” Santorum joked.

 

On the calendar:

Nov. 16

Michele Bachmann 9 a.m. Lakeshore Family Restaurant, Storm Lake; 12:30 p.m., 2nd Street Emporium, Webster City; 6 p.m., Sen. Brad Zaun house party, West Des Moines

Newt Gingrich, 7:30 a.m., fundraiser for Iowa Senate candidate Jeff Mullen, Machine Shed Restaurant, 11151 Hickman Rd., Urbandale

Rick Santorum, 8 a.m., Happy Joe’s, Clinton; 10 a.m., DeWitt Community Center; 12:15 p.m., Scott Community College Student Life Center, Bettendorf; 3 p.m., The Vineyard, Muscatine; and 7 p.m., house party, Fred and Dee Johnson, Cedar Rapids.

Nov. 17

Michele Bachmann Drake University, Des Moines; 2 p.m., Pioneer Hybrid, Johnston; 2 p.m., Pioneer Hi-Bred, Johnston

Rick Santorum, 7:30 a.m., Hamburg Inn, 214 N. Linn, Iowa City; 8:15, Iowa State Association of Counties, Coralville Marriott; 11:30 a.m., Iowa Association of Business and Industry; Des Moines; 5:30 p.m., Chad and Jill Kluver house party, Davenport

Nov. 18

Rick Santorum, 7:30 a.m., Broadway Café, Burlington; 10 a.m., Papa Georges Pizza, Mount Pleasant; noon, town hall, Café Dodici, Washington; 2:30 p.m., Ottumwa Public Library; 5:30 p.m.; Godfather’s, Knoxville

Michele Bachmann 9 a.m., Falcon Civic Center, Independence; 1 p.m., The Gazette Editorial Board (Not open to the public, but livestreamed at http://thegazette.com.)

Ron Paul, 1 p.m., Pizza ranch, Vinton; 4 p.m., Lawrence Community center, Anamosa; 7 p.m., Hotel at Kirkwood, 7725 Kirkwood Blvd., Cedar Rapids

Nov. 19

Rick Santorum, 9 a.m., Grace Church, Des Moines; noon, Patriot Outreach, Des Moines;

Ron Paul, 9 a.m., GOP pancake breakfast, Indianola Christian Church, Indianola

Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum, 4 p.m., The Family Leader Thanksgiving Family Forum, First Federated Church, 4801 Franklin Ave., Des Moines

Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann, Gov. Terry Branstad’s Birthday Bash, 3200 Adventureland Dr., Altoona

Nov. 20

Rick Santorum, 2 p.m., Fort Des Moines Church of Christ, Des Moines

Dec. 10

ABC News and the Iowa Republican Party, live presidential debate

Dec. 19

The Des Moines Register/PBS Newshour Republican presidential debate, Des Moines

 

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