Paul Supporters Undermine Santorum’s Anti-Abortion Credentials at “Personhood” Forum

At the Daily Beast, Michelle Goldberg reports that Rick Santorum was put on the defensive yesterday at a Personhood USA forum in Greenville, South Carolina.

Wednesday afternoon, all the Republican presidential candidates except Mitt Romney spoke at a town-hall meeting in Greenville, South Carolina, organized by Personhood USA, the hardline anti-abortion group. It should have been Santorum’s sweet spot—after all, no other candidate has made social issues so central to his campaign. The forum seemed designed to amplify his attacks on Romney. Each candidate was questioned for 20 minutes by a panel of three anti-abortion activists, who made frequent reference to Romney’s pro-choice past and his refusal to attend the event. In the end, though, the night might have hurt Santorum most of all.

For one thing, the audience was dominated, unexpectedly, by vocal Ron Paul supporters, with only a small number of visible Santorum fans. That’s a bad sign for the ex-senator, since if he can’t dominate at an anti-abortion gathering, he can’t dominate anywhere. Worse, while hundreds of attendees were inside the Greenville Hilton ballroom, someone was slipping flyers on their windshields warning that when it comes to abortion, Santorum is really a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” who doesn’t mean what he says.

The flyers referred to Karen Santorum’s long-term relationship with Tom Allen, an abortion provider in Pittsburgh. The relationship ended after Karen met her future husband Rick. In addition the flyers charged that Santorum had voted to fund Planned Parenthood, without explaining that the funding had been included in an omnibus budget bill. Read the complete text of the flyer here.

Goldberg suggests that Paul supporters are taking a leaf from Karl Rove’s playbook, specifically his well-known strategy of attacking opposition candidates’ greatest strengths.

The letter ended by describing Santorum in terms more often used for Romney. “I’m worried the facts about Rick Santorum won’t get out in time for this South Carolina Primary, and pro-lifers will be fooled into voting someone [sic] like Rick Santorum who DOES NOT share our values,” it says. “He just wants to be President so badly, he’ll say anything to be elected.”

Indeed, if you hadn’t been following the primary, you’d have left the Hilton on Wednesday thinking that Paul, the OB/GYN, was the best-known abortion opponent in the race….Paul doesn’t dwell on this stuff when he’s speaking to libertarian crowds, which may be why some Paul supporters are under the misapprehension that he just wants to return the issue of abortion to the states. In fact, speaking at the Personhood forum, he made it clear that he only wants to do that while working toward an anti-abortion constitutional amendment. He even boasted of his ability to win libertarians to the anti-abortion cause.

Ron Paul was not even at the meeting, but addressed the crowd by video feed. Nevertheless, his supporters dominated the event.

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9 Comments on “Paul Supporters Undermine Santorum’s Anti-Abortion Credentials at “Personhood” Forum”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    New Rasmussen Reports poll has Gingrich leading Romney in SC.

    The latest telephone survey of Likely GOP Primary Voters in the state finds Gingrich with 33% support to Romney’s 31%. Two days ago, before the last debate, it was Romney by 14 percentage points.

    Texas Congressman Ron Paul now runs third with 15% of the vote, followed by former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum at 11%. Paul’s support is steady while Santorum’s support has dropped five points since Monday. At the beginning of the month, just after Santorum’s strong showing in the Iowa caucuses, he ran second to Romney with 24% of the vote.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Here’s a real dirty trick.

    A prominent (and anonymous) [South Carolina] Tea Party blogger has created an image of former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum that shows the pandering politician sporting a “Hitler moustache.”

    The image is reproduced at the above link.

    • northwestrain says:

      Ron Paul is using all the dirty tricks that worked for 0bama & Bush.

      whoever has the most money — that will be the guy who wins. I’m convinced that it no longer matters who we vote for — our votes can be manipulated and changed. What counts is who or what is in control of counting the votes. Little vote changes here and there mean an election won or lost — regardless of how the votes were really cast.

      Paper ballets — hand counted and verified — is the only way to have an honest election.

  3. northwestrain says:

    Yes . . . . but. . . but….. Ron Paul is a peace candidate– well isn’t he?

    Poor suckers (Peace-niks) will be fooled again. Look at the whole person — and his history.

    Me thinks that any of the candidates will say absolutely anything they think people want to hear in order to be the most powerful man in the universe — or Nation or at least in DC.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Too true.

    • ralphb says:

      The only people who are probably worse than Paul are some of his Bots. They are like the Obots of 2008 only stupider.

      • northwestrain says:

        It goes to show us how some people can be manipulated into bots. The mind control tricks are very old — but now there is the mass media and the cult leaders have adapted to the time.