At NRO, Rich Lowry writes:
Rick Santorum’s night was defined by explaining why he voted for things he opposed (NCLB, Title X). He’s right that politics is a “team sport” (at least most of the time), but that’s not the best posture to be defending when you’re occupying his slot in a Republican presidential primary. He didn’t know when to let go on the earmark discussion, which he couldn’t possibly win. He gave the best possible defense of his Specter endorsement, but as Romney said it was convoluted. Again and again Santorum got tangled up in his Senate record. Overall, he was too defensive, too insider, too complicated.The Huffington Post reports:
Rush Limbaugh said that he "cringed" when he heard GOP candidate Rick Santorum call himself a team player to defend a controversial mark on his record at Wednesday night's debate.
Santorum was apologizing for supporting former President George W. Bush's "No Child Left Behind" legislation. He said that it had contradicted his personal beliefs, but took "one for the team" when he voted for it. When audience members booed, he added, "You know, politics is a team sports, folks, and sometimes you've got to rally together and do something, and in this case I thought testing and finding out how bad the problem was wasn't a bad idea."
Mitt Romney quickly seized on his opponent's comment, while others have speculated whether it would damage Santorum's campaign.
On Thursday, Limbaugh lamented Santorum's blunder. “I cringed when I heard him say this. Santorum is getting creamed for the team player comment," he said. "I heard it, I looked at [my wife] Kathryn, and I said, 'There’s going to be hell to pay for that one,' because I knew that Santorum opponents, both from the left and right, were going to harp on it."
Aaron Blake writes at The Washington Post that Specter is keeping another line alive for another news cycle:
Former Pennsylvania senator Arlen Specter said Thursday that Rick Santorum got his facts wrong when he said that he endorsed Specter only after securing a promise that Specter would support GOP Supreme Court nominees.
"I said will you support the president's nominees? We had a 51-to-49 majority in the Senate. He said, 'I'll support the president's nominees as chairman,'" Santorum said.
But Specter said on The Michael Smerconish Program on Thursday morning that that wasn't the case.
"He is not correct. I made no commitment to him about supporting judges," Specter said. "I made no deal."