“On Wisconsin TV, Rick Santorum is getting pummeled as someone who doesn't understand the economy. On the radio, he's portrayed as squishy on funding for women's health care provider Planned Parenthood. In mailings, Santorum has ‘crazy ideas’ that the state's Republican voters are asked to reject in their presidential primary next week,” the AP reports. “Yet again, the White House hopeful finds himself on the short end of a lopsided ad battle with rival Mitt Romney and his deep-pocketed allies. Santorum and his supporters are fighting back by calling the prospect of a Romney nomination a ‘disaster,’ but the counterpunches are hardly landing with the same power.”
ROMNEY: The Washington Post: “Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney is preparing to broaden his challenge to President Obama’s management of foreign affairs, sensing political vulnerability in an area in which the incumbent has received his strongest public support.”
What about W? “Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney is refusing to say whether he's seeking the endorsement of former President George W. Bush,” the AP writes. “Romney and his Republican rivals on the campaign trail have intentionally ignored the 43rd president for months. But his absence has been more pronounced over the last seven days as Romney trumpets endorsements from Bush's father and younger brother, former Florida. Gov. Jeb Bush.”
And The Hill takes that up too: “Mitt Romney is facing a dilemma in how to publicly tackle George W. Bush’s tenure. Some of Bush’s relatives have recently endorsed Romney, and he will likely be asked about Bush’s legacy and policies on the campaign trail.”
Chris Christie endorsed Mitt Romney, but does he have his sights on running in an open seat in 2016? "In terms of me, I'll be much more ready four years from now,” he told Oprah Winfrey. (Hat tip: Political Wire.)
Speaking of lukewarm endorsements, here’s Marco Rubio: "There are a lot of other people out there that some of us wish had run for president -- but they didn't."
SANTORUM: Wisconsin might be tough for Santorum, because his base has proven to be evangelicals. In places Santorum has won (and where exit polls are available), evangelicals averaged 72% of the population. He hasn’t won anywhere where evangelicals were less than 57% of the population. But in the NBC-Marist poll, 41% said they were evangelicals. And in 2008, just 38% of Wisconsin Republican primary voters said they were born-again or evangelical Christians.
“Mitt Romney had Michigan, Newt Gingrich had Georgia, and now Rick Santorum is hoping Pennsylvania can provide the hometown boost to help justify staying in the Republican presidential race,” USA Today writes, adding, “Both Romney and Gingrich placed a high priority on winning their home turf, and Pennsylvania's April 24 contest has become critical for Santorum as Romney has racked up endorsements and a lead in polls in advance of Tuesday's Wisconsin primary.”