An energized Rick Santorum stumped in Blaine Tuesday afternoon, eager for a replay of his Iowa caucus victory, and unfazed by the pig protesting outside the rally, or the glitter bomb somebody lobbed at his neck.
“Don’t settle for second best!” Santorum told the cheering crowd of at more than 200 supporters at the National Sports Center in Blaine, hours before the start of the Minnesota caucuses.
Dismissing opponent Newt Gingrich as “a piker,” and main rival Mitt Romney as the author of a healthcare plan that has been “a disaster for Massachusetts,” Santorum told the crowds that the latest state polls have him ahead by one point.
He drew more cheers as he derided climate change as “hoax science” and blasted Romney for policies that required Catholic charities to support gay adoption. The enthusiastic, flag-waving crowd booed Romney.
“Let’s make this election about Barack Obama and his lousy record for America,” Santorum said.
Forget polls. If you really want to know how a campaign is faring, ask the campaign button vendors.
Cass Arble, far from her home in North Carolina, has been following the Santorum campaign for months, selling stacks of buttons with legends like“Enjoy Capitalism” and “Rock the Vest” -- a nod to the candidate’s signature knitwear.
“These people are very enthusiastic,” said Arble, whose buttons were selling well at $5 for one or three for $10. “I’ve been places where people barely showed up and nobody bought anything.”
Out in the lobby, Maple Grove attorney Marjorie Holsten had brought the Minnesota Tea Party’s mascot to meet her candidate of choice. Taylor Swine, a potbellied pig, has graced conservative events across the state for the past three years, Holsten said.
While her pig happily gobbled up Cheerios, Holsten said the swine was meant to emphasize the message that a Santorum administration would end the era of big governments and porkbarrel spending.
“I really believe Rick Santorum is going to be there to stop the pork,” she said.
That message was somewhat muddied by the presence of a protester just outside, dressed in a pig costume and waving a sign accusing Santorum of accepting government pork projects during his Senate career. Pig-costumed protesters, aligned with the Romney campaign, have dogged Santorum across multiple states.
“I can’t believe Santorum split our lobby like this,” the protester, who declined to identify himself, said in mock sorrow
It wasn’t the last of the protest gantlet Santorum had to run. As he entered the auditorium and moved toward the stage, he was hit by a glitter bomb that left his neck and shoulders covered with multicolored sparkles.
Afterward, Santorum shrugged off the incident, part of a nationwide protest aimed at candidates whose policies are deemed not-gay-friendly. The glitterbomber fled the room, pursued by a few irate Santorum supporters, but Blain police said they wouldn’t press charges unless the candidate asked them to.
“I get those at almost every event. It doesn’t even matter,” said Santorum, whose suit jacket sparkled for his entire stump speech.  “It’s glitter. Big deal.”

Older Post

Franken introduces legislation to combat courthouse violence

Newer Post

Here are your predictions for Minnesota's Republican Party caucus vote