Time for Santorum to shine again?

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In a survey taken by Public Policy Polling last week in Missouri, Santorum led with 45 percent to Romney’s 34 and Paul’s 13.


Even though Santorum does have a victory under his belt, he never truly received the full credit from that opening-night win in Iowa, because he wasn't officially named the winner until a couple of weeks later in a wire service story. (Actually, the Iowa Republican Party weaseled out and never named a winner.)


In any event Florida wasn't really into Santorum, and the feeling was mutual. He didn't really participate much in the state, and came in last in the four-man field.


In addition to Missouri, Minnesota holds a caucus on Tuesday night, and PPP also shows Santorum extremely competitive there (in a statistical tie with Romney actually, with Santo at 29 percent and Mittens at 27 percent).


No such magic is expected in Colorado, however, as Mitt Romney is expected to win that state's caucus easily on Tuesday evening. However, none of that state's 36 delegates will be awarded tonight; they'll be chosen during district and and state conventions in the state this spring.


Meanwhile, Team Romney is reading those same polls, and thus their surrogates had to assume the position yesterday, which was attack mode.


Tim Pawlenty, now flacking for Romney, called Santorum "a nice guy, but he is simply not ready to be president," in a statement issued Monday morning. The criticism that Santorum liked to spend federal money freely is another narrative that his critics have mentioned in the past, and Pawlenty chimed in, referring to Santo's support for the infamous 'Bridge to Nowhere' in Alaska.


The New York Times reports that two e-mails were issued from the Romney campaign, blasting Santorum for his support of earmarks and pork-barrel spending, and claiming that Santorum has spoken out inaccurately in comparing Romney's plan for universal health care insurance in Massachusetts to the plan President Obama created.


The Romney camp also reminded reporters again on Monday that Santorum endorsed Romney in his first run for president in 2008. That's when he called the former Massachusetts governor the "the clear conservative candidate," in his race against John McCain.

As I'm sure you've heard ad nauseam, there are still 46 45 more states that have yet to weigh in on who should be the Republican nominee for president.

But after Mitt Romney's huge victory in Florida a week ago, the GOP race has gone a bit flat. The inevitability of the former Massachusetts governor looms larger by the moment, despite the fact that he doesn't appear to be all that popular inside his own party.

But lest we forget, there are other candidates besides Newt Gingrich in the race. Like Rick Santorum.

Tuesday night, three states get their moment in the election spotlight: Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri.

The Show-Me State contest is devoid of Gingrich, since he failed to qualify to get on the ballot. And that's leading some analysts to believe that Rick Santorum could possibly steal that state's primary.

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