Washington Post / The Plum Line
By Greg Sargent
Posted at 09:02 AM ET, 03/14/2012
Pop quiz: What do the following two events that took place yesterday have in common?
1) Rick Santorum wins the Alabama and Mississippi primaries, with Mitt Romney coming in third in both.
2) Romney tells a local TV station in Missouri that he would “get rid” of Planned Parenthood.
Answer: Both suggest Romney may remain trapped for months in a political dynamic that could damage him among key swing constituencies in advance of the general eleciton.
Romney won the delegate count last night, and by all accounts he moved closer to the nomination. But Santorum’s wins all but ensure that this contest will drag on into June, forcing Romney to continue embracing positions that appeal to the GOP voting blocs he’s been struggling to connect with but could also alienate independents and women. The pressure on Romney to do this could intensify if Santorum is able to unite conservatives behind his candidacy.
In an example of just such a position, Romney said this in an interview with Missouri’s KSDK-TV in Missouri: “Of course you get rid of Obamacare, that’s the easy one. Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that.”
This is exactly the sort of comment Dems are hoping Romney will be forced to keep making as the GOP nomination battle drags on. The DNC rushed out a video on Romney’s comments, highlighting the cancer screenings and birth control services that Romney would eliminate. The Obama campaign put out a statement arguing that Romney would eliminate “a vital health care provider for millions of American women.”
This comes as a new Bloomberg poll finds that an overwhelming majority, 77 percent, believe birth control should not even be “part of the national political debate.” It also finds that 62 percent think the contraception battle is “a matter of women’s health and access to birth control,” the Dem framing of the issue, while only 33 percent believe it’s about “religious liberty.” Fifty-three percent think Rush Limbaugh should be fired for his “slut” comments.