By The Right Scoop


***UPDATED***

Santorum had a strategy meeting to try and turn his campaign around after their big defeat on Tuesday night. One of the ideas is that if Newt got out it would increase Santorum’s chance of beating Romney. I concur as I think Newt probably won’t win anymore states and therefore wouldn’t qualify to be on the ballot at the convention. Also, Newt has always been about defeating Romney and Santorum is the only one competitive with Romney at this point.

And just as a note, here are the polls for Pennsylvania, the state that even Santorum’s strategists seem to believe is a must win:

Poll Date Sample Santorum Romney Paul Gingrich Spread
RCP Average 3/20 – 4/4 37.5 35.8 8.8 6.3 Santorum +1.7
Rasmussen Reports 4/4 – 4/4 750 LV 42 38 7 6 Santorum +4
PPP (D) 4/4 – 4/4 403 LV 37 42 9 6 Romney +5

Rasmussen has Santorum leading and PPP has Romney leading. Not sure what’s going to happen between now and voting day, but if Santorum loses his home state I think he’ll lose any momentum that he has.

POLITICO - Rick Santorum huddled in Virginia Thursday with a group of conservative leaders led by Reagan-era activists Richard Viguerie and Rebecca Hagelin to chart a path forward in the presidential race, multiple sources familiar with the meeting told POLITICO.

The former Pennsylvania senator personally met with a crew of longtime activists and consulted with others over the phone, sources said, as part of a late attempt to unify the right against Mitt Romney.

Santorum campaign officials confirmed that the candidate consulted with conservative leaders after a trio of primary losses on Tuesday night sparked a wave of calls for him to exit the race.

Former Family Research Council chief Gary Bauer, who was present at the sit-down with Santorum, called it a “strategy meeting to discuss how Sen. Santorum prevails.”

“I would say the consensus in the room is, we continue to believe that Sen. Santorum has the best message that is most likely in November to be a winning message,” said Bauer, who ran for president himself in 2000. “And so because of that, we want to make sure that we’re doing all the things that need to be done so that he will be successful.”

Asked whether he would characterize the mood as one of optimism or pessimism, Bauer answered: “Realism.”

Viguerie, the legendary Republican direct-mail strategist, said the conservative group pitched ideas to Santorum on how to turn around his campaign.

“Most of us don’t think we need small course corrections, we need to come up with some big, bold ideas,” Viguerie said. He declined to be more specific but said to expect changes in Santorum’s approach “in the next seven to 10 days.”

“He’s got to get control of the narrative,” said the old conservative warrior. “Right now he doesn’t have control of it and the establishment Republicans and the media are telling everybody it’s over with. That’s the thing you’ve got to deal with. He’s got to get access to a microphone.”

Viguerie said there was no talk of Santorum exiting the race, but acknowledged it would be difficult to press on without winning Pennsylvania’s April 24 primary. And he said the former senator made it clear that he hoped Newt Gingrich would step aside at some point so he could take direct aim at Romney.

“It would be difficult to draw a scenario that he can get the nomination if he doesn’t win Pennsylvania,” said Viguerie. “There’s a strong feeling in the Santorum campaign that if Gingrich did drop out it would significantly increase our chances to beat Romney.”

UPDATE: According to National Review, it now looks like Santorum is going to “reengineer” his campaign:

Richard Viguerie, a veteran conservative activist and top Santorum supporter, tells National Review Online that Santorum is “reengineering” his presidential campaign.

“You can’t repeat the same behavior and expect different results,” he says. “We’ve got to do things different. We’ve got to reengineer the campaign. We’ve got to add things, take things out, and make changes. Everyone recognizes that, from the candidate on down.”

Earlier today, Viguerie, along with a group of movement leaders, met with Santorum at an office in northern Virginia. For over an hour, they discussed ways to revive his bid.

“We came up with a number of bold plans,” Viguerie says. “It’s obvious that we need to do things that aren’t minor tweaks. We need to make significant changes to the campaign.”

Santorum’s aides, Viguerie adds, do not expect Newt Gingrich to drop out of the race. Today’s meeting, he insists, was a brainstorming session, not a commiseration.

“It was upbeat,” he says. “Everybody was optimistic. We all see a path to victory. But in the next few days, we’ll be doing some neat and exciting things.”




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