Santorum Takes Campaign To Steps Of U.S. Supreme Court

by
redwarrior
With more than a week until the next Republican presidential primary, Rick Santorum is expected to take his campaign Monday to the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court as it takes up the issue of the health care reform law.

Santorum takes campaign to steps of U.S. Supreme Court

With more than a week until the next Republican presidential primary, Rick Santorum is expected to take his campaign Monday to the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court as it takes up the issue of the health care reform law.

Santorum will likely use the opportunity to attack rival Mitt Romney for supporting a Massachusetts health care law that bears similarities to the health care reform law, repeating claims that it is a major weakness for the former governor's campaign.

The anticipated attacks against Romney come as Santorum is trying to build momentum on his win over the weekend in the Louisiana GOP primary.

Romney maintains his more than 2-to-1 lead in delegates despite the Santorum victory, raising questions about whether the former Pennsylvania senator can prevent Romney from securing the 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the nomination ahead of the Republican convention in August.

According to CNN's unofficial estimates, Romney has 568 delegates compared with 261 for Santorum, 137 for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and 71 for Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

The debate over the 2010 federal health care reform law has been a near constant presence in the race for the GOP presidential nomination, with Santorum saying Romney will be unable to debate health care with President Barack Obama in the general election because both backed similar policies.

Romney contends his program was only designed for Massachusetts and that he would seek to repeal the federal plan if elected president.

However, the health care issue continues to haunt Romney on the campaign trail.

Obama's senior adviser, David Plouffe, made sure to highlight the Romney-Obama link on health care during appearances on Sunday talk shows.

"Mitt Romney is the godfather of our health care plan," Plouffe said on the NBC program "Meet the Press," noting that now Romney was "running away from that."

To Santorum, it all comes down to growing concern on the political right about whether Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, truly holds conservative beliefs he has declared during the GOP campaign or will revert to more moderate stances of the past once the nomination is secured.

Santorum's Supreme Court campaign stop comes as the candidates get a break in the primary schedule, with the next contests on April 3 in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

The big question heading into the next round of primaries remains whether Santorum's showing in Louisiana will matter, given Romney's huge delegate lead.

Pressure is mounting from mainstream Republicans for Santorum and Gingrich to drop out of the race so Republicans can coalesce around what many consider to be Romney's inevitable nomination.

Gingrich, who has won only two states -- South Carolina and his home state of Georgia -- has vowed to stay in the race until the Republican convention in Florida.

Conservative Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina made it clear Sunday that he expects Romney to be his party's nominee, even though he has yet to make a formal endorsement.

"I think the primary's over. Romney will be the nominee," Graham said on CNN's "State of the Union." "I'm very comfortable with him ... he'll get to 1,144."

Santorum and Gingrich have run "phenomenal races," Graham said, but now was the time for Republicans of all stripes to work together to defeat Obama in November.

While Santorum agreed Sunday on the need for unity to defeat Obama, he rejected any contention that the race was over. Electing Obama to a second term would be "the end of freedom as we know it," Santorum said on CBS, but Romney would be "the worst candidate" to race Obama.

Voters were looking for a candidate "who can win the election because they have better ideas, not because they can pound their opponent into the ground with negative ads," he said in reference Romney's superior campaign funding and super PAC backing.

During his appearance on CNN, Graham predicted that the federal health care law and the role of government will be the central issue of the general election.

"The vice president whispered to the president when they signed the bill two years ago, 'This is a big f-ing deal,' " Graham said of health care reform. "Well now it's become a big f-ing mess for the Democratic Party and the country as a whole."