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Desperate Times…A Unity Ticket?

Desperate times call for desperate measures:

Rick Santorum is reassessing his campaign strategy this weekend, but he’s still committed to stopping Mitt Romney.

“BREAKING NEWS: Santo meeting in Virginia now w conservative leaders,” Time’s Mark Halperin tweeted. “Talk re the path forward, Santo-Newt unity effort to stop Romney.” Translation: Santorum meeting in Virginia now with conservative leaders. They are talking about the path forward, a Santorum-Newt unity effort to stop Romney.

Halperin added that a “Santor[um] source, responding to speculation: ‘He is NOT dropping out before Pennsylvania.’ [Meeting is about the] best way to proceed, not whether to.”

There have been rumors about a Santorum-Gingrich unity ticket before, but they always seemed highly unlikely for two reasons. The first was that Santorum would be taking a very big risk by promising Newt the VP slot, especially back when he had a chance to win the nomination cleanly and pick a more practical running mate, i.e., Marco Rubio or Paul Ryan. The second obstacle was Gingrich’s main bankroller, Sheldon Adelson, who has made it pretty clear he’s not a Santorum fan.

The difference now is that Santorum and Gingrich are both in much more dire straits than they were a month or two ago. Santorum has no chance of winning the nomination outright, and even in the highly unlikely scenario that he did, most of the names on the vice presidential short list have endorsed and campaigned for Romney.

Adelson has also said Gingrich is at the “end of his line” in the race. If the clock is running out on Adelson’s support for Gingrich, the former speaker has much less to lose by teaming up with Santorum.

Of course, if such a deal were actually to happen, Gingrich and Santorum would become the scourge of the Republican establishment (at least more so than they are already). And at this point, their chances of winning with a unity ticket aren’t much better than without a unity ticket.  For someone like Santorum with future presidential aspirations, it doesn’t seem like the wisest move in the long run.



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