Santorum's last stand? Blame Casey for Kerry comments

Down by double digits in the polls, the Pennsylvania senator says his challenger has endorsed the "disparaging" of the troops. He hasn't.

Tim Grieve
November 1, 2006 6:56PM (UTC)

Give Rick Santorum credit for trying. Over the course of the past few weeks, he's pulled out all the stops to try to pull even with his Democratic challenger. He's challenged Bob Casey Jr. to 10 debates. He's equated the war in Iraq with "Lord of the Rings." He's played the scare card hard with a major foreign policy speech called "The Gathering Storm."

None of it has worked, or at least not nearly as well as Santorum must have hoped. A new Quinnipiac University poll out this morning shows Santorum is still trailing Casey by 10 percentage points among likely voters. A new Keystone poll from Franklin & Marshall College puts Santorum down by 17 points.


A lesser man might throw in the towel about now, but Santorum isn't done yet. His latest ploy? Like Republican candidates all over the country, Santorum is hoping he can punish his opponent by jamming him with John Kerry's comments about Iraq.

This morning, Santorum's campaign distributed an e-mail message to reporters saying that Casey has "endorsed John Kerry's comments belittling our troops." Will this tactic work where so many others have failed? It might, if only it were true. Casey didn't endorse any belittling of the troops Tuesday. What he endorsed was what John Kerry said he meant by his comments. "From what I can gather, Kerry botched a joke," the Associated Press quotes Casey as saying. "That's what he said, and I take him at his word. He served in combat. Last time I checked, the president and the vice president did not. The White House and the Santorum forces should get to work on dealing with the real problems in Iraq. The first thing they should do is fire Mr. Rumsfeld instead of spending a lot of time trashing Democrats."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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2006 Elections John F. Kerry, D-mass. Rick Santorum War Room

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