Rick Santorum: Party of one

Politicians like to surround themselves with people, especially when there's a camera around. They love to work the rope line, welcome surging grounds, reach out to shake hands and kiss babies. So it can get downright lonely when the room is practically empty. That's just what happened to former Pennsylvania Republican senator Rick Santorum in the small town of Hamlin, Iowa. According to the Des Moines Register newspaper, Santorum showed up for a campaign stop to find exactly one person waiting for him: Peggy Toft, an insurance agent and chair of the Audobon County Republican Party. At least she can say she got his undivided attention.

The lack of enthusiasm for Santorum's bid stands in stark contrast to 2012, when he won 11 states and for a while seemed a credible threat to the eventual GOP nominee, Mitt Romney. I went to one of his rallies in Phoenix and saw up close his appeal to Christian conservatives who admire his steadfast opposition to same-sex marriage, abortion rights and the Common Core curriculum. But this time around there are plenty of conservatives running against Santorum, and he's one of those candidates who may not make the top-ten cut for the first Republican debate in August.

Santorum tried to put a brave face on this dismal campaign stop, pointing out one-on-one campaigning is his forte and besides, three other people eventually showed up, swelling the crowd to four. And he was campaigning in a café, which gave him plenty of time to enjoy the breaded tenderloin and onion rings he chose for lunch.
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